Zortrax M200 3D Printer Review
The Zortrax M200 3D Printer is recognized as one of the top Prosumer 3D Printer 2017 from 3Dhubs.com1. In my review we’ll go through why the Zortrax M200 is such a good machine for anyone that uses their 3D Printer for professional use.
Introducing the Zortrax M200 3D Printer
Before we dig into my Zortrax M200 3D printer Review, lets just go through the specs to see what’s promised and so you’re up to date on the product. I mean who doesn’t love specs?!
- Build Volume: 200 x 200 x 180mm (7,2 liter)
- Layer Thickness: 90-400 microns (0,09-0,4mm)
- Nozzle Diameter: 0,4mm
- Filament Diameter: 1,75mm
- Printing Temperature: Up to 380°C in the hot-end
- Heated Bed: Yes, Heated to around 110°C
- Software: Z-Suite (no 3rd party software)
In The Zortrax M200 box
For my review I got to borrow a unit from Creative Tools Sweden AB, Zortrax Resellers in Scandinavia. The machine was shipped in the standard packaging. The product was neatly packed and quite compact when considered it includes a roll of filament and a toolkit. More on that later. Unboxing was easy for one person despite the machines shipping wight of around 25kg.
The printer is suspended with foam and well protected thanks to rods-clips that keep the extruder head in place. Very nice!
To my surprise Zortrax also includes a full kit of Tools to get started with 3D-printing. It’s very comprehensive and compares well to the PrintaKit I reviewed here. Zortrax of course focusing on what’s needed for their printer.
To my disappointment, there were no side-covers included. This should be mandatory! Those are bought separately and I ended up getting those later (see video here). The sides are crucial to keep heat inside the machine when running complex materials that have a tendency to warp.
Most 3D Prints actually benefits of the covers, so I’m still not sure why they’re not shipped with them.
Preparing your first 3D Print in the Zortrax M200
There’s a few steps when you get the machine that you need to do before first print is made, it’s mostly assembled but here we go.
First of all is to attach the extrude cable from the backside to the top of the print head. I guess they don’t want it to bend during shipping.
The top part of the print head is actually made with a Zortrax M200 3D Printer.
The second step is to put on the perforated build plate. This particular Buildplate is both genius and dumb at the same time.
The build plate rests on a few screws with strong magnets and really sits well. The perforated top part creates a larger surface area when the filament is pushed down into the holes. First printing layers on the Zortrax M200 gets a really good grip on a hot, sticky and perforated plate.
The problem is the two connectors you have to connect/disconnect every time you want to remove the build plate. It puts a lot of stress on the small connectors that are not designed to be connected/reconnected every day for several years…
You could argue that you shouldn’t remove the build plate. But the parts stick so well that you need to be very aggressive to get parts off, which would damage the machine if you didn’t remove the build plate…
Thanks to the “always-on-raft” in combination with perforated holes, adhesion is not really problem. I had around 97% success and faults are due to greasy fingers on the build plate.
There are also metallic parts on the build plate that help the semi-automatic leveling. The machine senses the position of the nozzle towards the build plate and tells you how much to screw each screw.
leveling procedure takes a bit of time unfortunately. Luckily the construction is solid and as long as you DO remove the build plate after each print before removing the print, you’re set for loads of printing before levelling.
Zortrax Z-Suite Software
Zortrax isn’t going the regular route of open source software. The included Z-Suite software is the allowed/preffered slicer and lets you take 3D-files (STL, OBJ) and create .zcode file format. The .zcode is probably just glorified g-code.
Downloading the software requires your serial number, which is found on the side of your machine. Write it down, you’ll need it when installing as well.
The Z-Suite looks great and works very well. I guess you could try it here if you want to as a demo. I find any tools that I need quickly and the UI lets one change and arrange pints fairly easily. I’d like to have easier rotational translator-tools, but it’s not a big issue.
The settings are a bit limiting though at first glance. You start of with assigning to use the Zortrax M200 3D Printer (M300 is also available now, no testing of it yet), then set material from the list.
After that I find myself always clicking the advanced tab to expose more settings. You can see what is available below:
Then it’s up to you to adjust speed, infill and support-angles (or 0). Pretty straight forward!
The feature to adjuster outer contours really help if you have a model that is designed to be snug, but moves a bit due to slicing/shrinkage. It does however only work after printing a model and measuring how that specific model behaves. Still great if you make 3D prints for customers.
Thoughts on Z-Suite
Zortrax have since my video/review made updates to Zortrax Z-suite and you can now change much more settings than before. Now you have access to anything from temperatures to specific features in the slicing.
A great addition is that you can now run 3rd party filament due to accessing more settings.
The Zortrax ecosystem and previously limited options.
Zortrax used to not allow 3rd party filaments, or actually, not allow you to do necessary changes in for example temperatures.
There are obvious benefits with reliability and user experience by running a closed ecosystem of filaments. Professional business users can afford to spend a little bit more to have a better experience. An experience to rely on.
Zortrax did listen to the community and it’s now possible to tweak settings and run 3rd party filaments. Just know that you’re giving up reliability, repeatability for more tweaking and experimenting.
Back to why I was OK with the previously limiting options
One of the major reasons why I accept the fact that I can’t change settings is because it works extremely well. Just pop in a material and start printing!
There are no NFC/chip sensor that limits your use of third-part filaments and there are forums dedicated to finding cheaper materials that match the Zortrax Z-Suite settings.
The idea is that If you get bored of using Zortrax Materials forever, You could run 3rd party materials and risk faulty prints. That’s the beauty.
Zortrax Materials Available
Regardless of 3rd party filaments or not, the Zortrax materials for the Zortrax M200 3D Printer are many and covers most of the needs for engineering and designer customers:
- Z-ABS – Durable and impact resistance. Does have some shrink to it. Perfect for small models and to post-process
- Z-ULTRAT – Similar to Z-ABS, but is definitely harder and more durable. Also a bit stiffer and resist higher temperatures. Low shrinkage, good for accurate and large models.
- Z-HIPS – Very durable and impact-resistant. Good for large and visually appealing models. Good for glue, sanding and sandblasting.
- Z-GLASS – High tensile strength and resist higher temperatures. Lets a lot of light through and can be post-processed to be even more clear.
- Z-PETG – Very durable material resistant to chemicals, acids and alkalies. High elasticity and tensile strength. Low shrinkage.
- Z-PCABS – Mixture of ABS and Poly-carbonate. Super mechanical features being durable and resistant to high and low temperatures. Does have a lot of shrinkage.
For a full document on the materials, check out this PDF link.
Is the Zortrax M200 3D Printer a match for you?
To summarize my experience with the machine I find it perfect for a certain type of users!
I find the Zortrax M200 3D Printer to really be a reliable workhorse. It does it’s job of creating high-end engineering and design objects with good visual and mechanical properties.
The maintenance is very low and it’s remarkable reliable when you follow the guidelines of using Zortrax materials and the neat “presets” in Z-Suite. On a regular basis I never found the need to adjust any other settings than what’s available.
I can see that a lot of users are not OK with the (previously) closed non-open-source system. Specially considered that when you run into a error or just a bad print there’s not much to do about other than contact the support, or try again in another material or color.
Luckily now there is.
I realize we all focus on that settings (was) locked down. I get it, and sure I’m annoyed that it’s like that.
On the other side, For majority of newcomers to 3D its actually really really good considered that the presets in Z-suite work almost flawless.
I would buy this machine (or two) if I rely on my printer to work and want to spend a minimum amount of time tinkering or adjusting. For that, The Zortrax M200 is a match!
The 3D Printed results
The prints I’ve made with this machine are just amazing. The quality is very nice and it’s super-easy to get great results, every time. If you want to focus on what you get after the prints, with out too much preparations before and after printing, this is a great machine for you.
Enjoy the review. Let me know if you have any questions and thoughts. Please consider sharing this! It helps out on the web.