If you have ever seen a Zortrax m200 and an m300 standing next to each other, you have probably noticed that… these machines look almost the same. You might have also said that the m300 is the m200’s bigger brother. Well, that’s not entirely true. Let’s take a look at the crucial differences between these 3d printers.
The battle – 3d printers build volume
The main dissimilarity between the m200 and the m300 is the size of your required workspace. The printing area of the m200 is 400 sq. cm (20cm by 20cm or 7.87in by 7.87in) and print heights up to 18cm. The Zortrax m300’s build plate is 30cm by 30cm, so the total area is 900 sq.cm. This means that in one run the m300 is capable of printing objects which used to be printed in two or three runs using the m200. Of course, this feature is not only useful for low-volume production.
Having a larger workspace is much appreciated when printing big models. For a standard-size, desktop, 3d printer, large models need to be divided into sections. Otherwise they would not fit into your workspace during printing. The next steps would be joining the parts, using adhesive, masking gaps between parts with, e.g., putty and smoothing seams. If you are printing big models in one piece – as most of the time – you are able to avoid the previously mentioned steps. In this case you are able to save time on the whole postprocessing, assuming that the printing does not require excessive support usage.
The Z axis
The Zortrax M Series 3d printers are well known for their high-end components. In terms of print quality, an essential role is played by the Z axis. Here not only the electronics and the stepper motor are taken into consideration. We are talking about pure mechanics – the lead screw. Its function is to transform the rotational motion of the screw into linear movement in the build plate.
The older versions of the m200 – e.g. version 2 – were equipped with a trapezoidal-thread lead screw. This application is well known in the 3d-printing industry, and has been used for many years. But this does not mean that this is the perfect solution. Mostly trapezoidal-thread screws generate higher friction during rotation, and are less efficient, causing screws and nuts to wear faster.
For smoother and mechanically more-efficient linear movement you can use ball screws. They are far more precise and cause little friction in comparison with trapezoidal-thread screws. Why am I explaining this to you? Well… the m300 has a ball screw in the Z axis, and I could not imagine a smarter solution! M300 is designed to deliver high-volume, heavy prints up to 30cm in height. In this case less friction application is better, and that is why the m300’s components will last longer (the print quality is better too).
Now the bombshell! Zortrax 3d printers have never stayed in one place for a long time in fulfilling the 3d-printing industry’s demands. So. if you are planning to buy an m300 basically because of its Z-axis design, I have great news – the new version of the m200 is also equipped with a ball screw!
Without any doubt the m300’s build plate is bigger than the one installed in the m200. But are there any differences in design in this field? When the new version of the Zortraxm200 was redesigned and given a much-thicker heatbed (preventing convexities formation during heating) the dissimilarity between m300’s build plate was reduced to one thing. The auto-leveling cable connection. It is a small redesign, but it makes a difference.
The M300’s heatbed has a jumper connected to a small plug and a build-plate big plug – so, in order to disconnect the plate from the 3d printer you will need to take care of only one conveniently designed plug. In the m200 you have to unplug the big connector, which is responsible for powering the heatbed and then the small one – the auto-leveling cable connector.
The Spool holder
Last but not least. The shape of the m300’s spool holder is designed to securely lock the filament spool in the right place. There is no possibility that material will fall down because of click-fit added to holder.
So…which 3d printer should you choose?
Zortrax took the best of the m200 and put it into the m300. The main advantage of the m300 is its insanely big workspace, which will take every maker to the next level. Other differences between the m200 and the newer m300 are not big. Their purpose is to make everyday use simpler for every Zortrax user.
So, if you are planning to print big models, set up a low-volume-production 3d-printer workshop, make 1:1-scale prototypes, or cosplay armors, definitely take a look at the Zortrax m300 3d printer. In other situations I recommend you to choose the Zortraxthe m200, as it will amaze you with every print run which will come out of it. I mean that!