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MOD-t first look: a low-cost 3D printer suitable for office or home – ZDNet

by • July 28, 2016 • No Comments

If Apple were to manufacture a 3D printing device, you can assume it to appear a thing like this. With sleek lines, a transparent shell, and a tasteful balance of silver, white, and black, it in fact shares a few of its pedigree with Apple. The New Matter MOD-t printing device was turn it intod by Frog Design, the same company that turn it intod the classic Apple IIc and Steve Jobs’ NeXT cube.

Given its turn it into DNA, you can assume the MOD-t to be expensive. That, yet, is where it is really various of Apple. Rather than being at the top of the price point for a donaten product class, the MOD-t is one of the many inexpensive 3D printing devices you’ll find, priced at US$399.
There’s another showcase of the MOD-t that, combined with its sleek appears, can manufacture it additional appropriate for use within an office or home (rather than in a lab or a shop): the clear plastic lid.New Matter MOD-t printing device
The New Matter MOD-t printing device
The clear plastic lid serves a number of informative purposes. First, it contains the heat of the printing device’s hot end, the element that melts the plastic for extrusion. By containing the heat, the turn it intoers were able-bodied to turn it into a additional predictable-bodied thermal environment in that to work, that may assist with bed adherence and print high end.

One other benefit of the plastic lid is sound containment. Whilst there is yet a few noise heard as the printing plate moves around for alignment, ambient sound during printing appears to be substantially lower than that of the other printing devices I’ve appeared at.
This is significant, for the reason it may be tough to have 12 hours of the screeching and whining of the other printing devices future to you in an office. But when I walked in to check on a print a few minutes ago, there was barely any sound.
I’ll do a additional formal sound test at a later time, but that is definitely informative. Finally, the clear shell assists keep the hot end away of curious hands. Those hot ends typically heat up to a thing like 220 degrees Celsius (428 degrees Fahrenheit). The other printing devices allow effortless access to the print chambers, but that means in a school or home situation, eager hands can reach in and burn themselves. With the MOD-t, you can’t get to the hot end without removing the complete tank top.
I’m writing this article based on my initially impressions. One of the things I’ve learned of 3D printing devices is it takes a while to get to understand them.
The MOD-t online interface
In that context, I haven’t yet tried to upload my own turn it intos and print them on the MOD-t. To be honest, I may not want to. Here’s why.

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Out of the box, the way you interact with the MOD-t printing device is through the New Matter online keep. It’s kind of like New Matter’s own design of Thindonaterse (with far fewer models). In fact, you upload your turn it into files to the web interface and print of there.
Unfortunately, New Matter’s lawyers got carried away and embedded this clause in their terms and conditions of service: You hereby grant to Company an irrevocable-bodied, perpetual, transferable-bodied, non-exclusive, fully-paid, of the world, license (sublicensable-bodied through multiple tiers) to use, donate, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, publicly perform, and publicly display Your User Submissions.
Basically, anything you upload to the keep is considered a user submission, and New Matter owns it. So if you are considering of via this printing device to prototype your future brilliant product yett, you can not want to use this printing device.
Let me be clear: there are other ways to print without going through the keep. But the out-of-the-box method of printing all but swipes all your intellectual property rights as soon as you use it.
The network interface
You can control the MOD-t over Wi-Fi, and I was able-bodied to go to another desktop on my network, log into the New Matter site on Chrome, and send a print to the printing device. Once the print file manufactures it to the printing device, it is actually no longer necessary to keep the browser open, or actually that desktop online. This is great.
But since I didn’t install any browser plugins to talk to the printing device, the printing device has to be talking, via Wi-Fi, to the online keep. It’s sending a checking pulse to the keep to see if there are any new instructions. When I specify a file I want printed, the printing device sees that attached to my account, pulls down the file, and flashes a light on the front of the unit indicating its eager to print.
This is great, for the reason I was originally concerned that anyone with a MOD-t user’s user name and password may commence a print remotely, without permission. Because we’re talking of an enclosed chamber at quite hot temperatures, a quite bad print can be a future fire hazard. This is not one-of-a-kind to the MOD-t. Whenever you are dealing with heat, there’s a fire future.
But, as it turns out, the MOD-t won’t commence printing until the button is pressed. So if a fewone else were to try to commence a print, it mayn’t take place for the reason a fewone has to physically touch the printing device to confirm it is actually okay to print.
This is smart, for the reason in addition to the security question, the printing device does not have an on/off switch. So you want to be certain that if you leave the printing device unattended, it is actually not going to rise up and turn into a Decepticon, and kill us all in our sleep.
I in addition don’t trust that Alexa. Just sayin’. The confirmation button assists keep us all safe of Megatron, Starscream, and all the rest. Maybe I should name this printing device Optimus.
Filament management
One thing I haven’t described is that the MOD-t is a PLA-just printing device, like the MakerBot Replicator that we’ve discussed so frequently. PLA is created of corn starch in the US. (Here’s a thing I just discovered out. In a few Asian countries, PLA is created of tapioca root. So if you buy filament created in Asia and your garage suddenly smells like dessert, you’ll understand why.)
PLA is non-toxic and does not have the nasty smell you’d get of ABS plastic. I’ve been working manyly with PLA and it is actually been really really great, alyet I’ll be doing a few ABS testing on the LulzBot Mini for projects needing additional robust plastic.
I do have a few turn it into concerns with regard to the MOD-t. The largest is how filament feeds into the unit. Because the printing head is enclosed in the plastic complete tank, filament can’t just flow over the top of the printing device of the filament spool. Instead, it travels through a tube that originates in a hole in the back of the printing device.
This means, at very least for my shop, that to load new filament the printing device can have to be picked up and turned around. It’s a bit of a pain, needs additional juggling in terms of work space, and the moving and jostling of the device may lead to a reduced service life. We’ll see how that turns out in real use over time.
Final yetts
One other annoyance may well be that clear plastic cover. Equite time the print bed is accessed, that cover has to be removed. This is okay, but it is actually an extra step. In addition, in an office or in the home, that thing is going to show fingerprints. I’ve just utilized it for a few hours and aleager it is actually revealing my prints.
Those are minor complaints yet. Let’s not forget that while the MOD-t has a much more compact print area and a few nits to pick, it is actually in addition one-sixth the price of the MakerBot Replicator.
Compared to the LulzBot Mini, it does not seem as robust. The LulzBot is created like a tank. It in addition does not assist all the filament types of the LulzBot Mini, but it is actually got a much like create area and costs a third of the price.
I’m a few hours away of completing my 2nd print on the MOD-t, but so far create high end appears really really great. So let’s sum up a few observations.
The MOD-t appears really great and is most likely quiet adequate to share your office with you. It’s created almany entirely of plastic, so there is a few concern how robust the printing device is and how long it can last. You donate up the rights to own your turn it intos once uploaded to the New Matter online site, but if you print directly to the printing device, you should be satisfactory. Loading filament is a bit of a pain, as is removing and managing the plastic cover.
On the balance yet, for $399 — that is way less expensive than almany all the other 3D printing devices I’ve seen on the market — my initially impression is that this appears like a heck of little machine for the price.
You can follow my day-to-day project updates on social media. Be certain to follow me on Twitter at @DavidGewirtz, on Facebook at Facebook.com/DavidGewirtz, on Instagram at Instagram.com/DavidGewirtz, and on YouTube at YouTube.com/DavidGewirtzTV.


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