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Zortrax M300 3D Printer Review
Last update on 2021-02-21 at 11:05
The previous Zortrax model, the M200, took the 3D printing world by storm in 2014 winning numerous awards with consumers left extremely impressed with its accuracy and quality combined with affordability and reliability. This led the printer to soon become a favorite in the 3D Printing community.
The M300 is significantly bigger than its predecessor, capable of printing a whole bike helmet in one go. It uses a new Z-axis design, which improves accuracy and generally builds upon all that the M200 did well.
To kick off the review let’s get a general overview of the M300’s specs:
Print Volume: 300 X 300 X 300mm
One of the specs for us to get most excited about is the build size. This is a relatively large increase from the M200 and larger than most other enclosed 3d printers on the market.
Materials: Z-ULTRA, Z-HIPS, Z-GLASS, and Z-PETG
The M300 utilizes filament materials crafted and heavily tested by Zortrax. Each material has its own properties and attributes built for all types of specific projects, so you should never have any problems. We’ll take a closer look at these in the features section.
Layer Resolution: 90-290 microns
The layer resolution saw a slight increase from the M200 but this was to facilitate many of the other benefits the M300 brings. We will explore whether the trade-off was worth it.
Native Software: Z-Suite
Developed by Zortrax themselves, Z-Suite is the default software for M-series models. Of course, you can use other modeling software applications such as Cura, but we’ll have a look at just how intuitive Z-Suite is.
Now we’ve got an overview of the specs we can dig a bit deeper to see where it wins and where it falls short compared to the other similar 3d printers on the market, as well as its smaller predecessor the M200.
Print Volume – The M300 boasts one of the biggest print volumes available on 3d printers with similar price tags, this gives the M300 a huge advantage over some of its competitors. You can print huge objects like full-size cosplay helmets in one go.
While there are other 3d printers on the market with similar print volumes, they tend to be open frame designs, like the CR-10 family, which don’t have the reliability or accuracy of the Zortrax M300.
For example, if you wanted to create an average sized bike helmet in the M200, this would require multiple builds, but with the M300, this can be facilitated in just one.
Materials – The M300 is unlocked to use any brand of filament, so you can easily make use of your current collection or stick to your favorite brand. Like most 3d printers the M300 is ideal for the easy to use PLA filament. Because of its fully enclosed design, its ideal for printing tricker materials such as ABS and HIPS.
However, Zortrax also makes their own brand filaments that are optimized for the M300 and guarantee you will get the best possible quality and reliability when using them in Zortrax printers.
There’s a large range of Zortrax filaments available including low shrinkage PLA plug, flexible and heat resistant materials, so you are not limited to the standard PLA and ABS.
Accuracy – The layer resolution of the M300 is comparable to its closest rivals at a very precise 140-300 microns and it has a high positioning accuracy of 1.5 microns. If you research some of the printers out there you will notice a trend that the larger the build space the higher the layer resolution, it just depends on what you prioritize. The M300 is still an extremely precise machine so there shouldn’t be any problems in this area.
Unboxing, Box Contents and Setup
Compared to its closest rival printers on the market, the M300 comes with a huge range of external components. Here’s a quick list of what the box contains:
-The M300 printer
-The power lead
-An SD card
-2x 2KG reel of filament
-A spool holder
-Filament guide tube
-A build plate
-3M nitrile gloves
-Key for nozzle
As you would expect, the M300 comes neatly and densely packaged to prevent any possible damage. Once you open the box you’ll find on the top is a separate box of some of the accessories listed above packed with some side covers.
Then the machine itself is packed below with more accessories inside. Now be careful when lifting this as it can be quite awkward to lift and does weigh a significant amount (56.5kg shipping weight). You should be able to get set up very quickly as everything is packed in a very organized way and if you follow the instructions, you should have absolutely no problems.
There is very little assembly required. The side panels clip into place and the filament loading and bed leveling are both automatic so no tweaking is required to start printing.
Software – Z Suite
There are several existing pieces of 3d printing freely available that do much of what Z-suite is offering, however, the useful thing about Z-Suite is the fact it was developed by Zortrax for Zortrax machines which gives them an element of control regarding what the software does.
This subsequently allows them to get the most potential out of their hardware. This modeling software is also receiving constant updates which are great as it’s common for 3d printing software made by hardware manufacturers to be susceptible to falling behind in this area, rarely getting new features and patches.
Z-suite has some great features that make it stand out amongst the competition. Its fully editable supports are one of its best features, which make it easy to support complex shapes with minimum impact on their finish.
Thin wall detection is another very useful feature that provides a quick and easy check that can prevent print failures and wasted time and materials.
Zortrax Customer Service
Zortrax customer service is very highly regarded by owners. After scouring through copious forums and support boards, I have come across very little negative feedback for the customer service team at Zortrax.
There is a frequently updated knowledge base at https://support.zortrax.com which features articles on basic setting up, fault finding, and getting the best results from your M300. There’s also a popular support forum which allows you to ask questions and get tips from existing owners.
Pros and Cons
So after looking in depth at the features of the printer, let’s evaluate where it beats its competition and where it falls short.
Print Volume: What more can we say about ‘the big one’. Its size really does give huge advantages over other printers in the same price range. Of course, if you’re only interested in making small builds, this is less of a benefit, but most individuals and organizations want the most efficient build process possible and this usually entails finishing their project in as few builds as possible.
Accuracy: The M300 is an extremely precise machine with an accuracy of 90 – 290 microns your CAD will really will be brought to life. As a side note, the maximum layer resolution of 300 microns is also larger than the average in the M300s field which, when mixed with the size and FFF technology, can allow for some rapid printing for draft quality prototypes.
Reliability: Zortrax is well known for making high-quality machines and the M300 is no exception. One of its huge benefits is its longevity. To go with the long life of the printer, the customer service is also top notch so any issues you do have will likely be dealt with swiftly and efficiently.
Price: For the quality it offers, the M300 is a good price. However, if you don’t need peerless reliability and quality there are other 3d printers available that will do the same job as the M300. It is also important to note with Zortrax that it is not only the printer price you need to consider, it is the materials that are compatible with it, the price of them and also the shipping costs if necessary.
Connectivity: Whilst some of its competitors such as the Raise3D can now utilize wireless to send builds from the software to the printer, the M300 still relies on using an SD card which can cause for a slower process, especially when the printer is being repeatedly used. It might only be a small issue for some but these are some of the things that might cause more of a problem in certain circumstances, (for example, are there stairs between your computer and printer? No one wants a cardio workout for each build!).
The first thing to look at with high-quality printers such as these is the price because from here we can gauge the real value of what it brings. At around 3000 dollars there are cheaper printers out there, but the real question is, are there printers of this quality out there for this price? I believe there are very few.
The build size really sets it apart from others and with all other attributes also at a high standard, it makes for a really high scoring printer. However, when there are other high-quality printers out there such as the Raise3D and even the Zortrax M200 offering their own unique selling points, it’s up to the consumer to really narrow down exactly what qualities they prioritize.
Personally, though I can definitely vouch for the Zortrax M300 and I put it high on my list of the best available 3D printers.