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Hands-on Gear Review
Zortrax M200 Pro Review
Price: $2,100 List | $2,050.00 at Amazon
Pros: Great support, excellent bed adhesion
Cons: Awful initial assembly, pricey
Bottom line: This model makes great prints and is easy to use -- once it's assembled
Tying for the runner-up position, the M200 Pro by Zortrax performed well in our tests but definitely comes at a premium price. This model is a bit difficult to set up and restricted to proprietary filament but created excellent prints and is easy to use.
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Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results
The Zortrax is a futuristic, sleek printer that creates excellent prints, most of the time. It's very easy to use, with a software program, printer, and filament all made by the manufacturer. However, this limits the capabilities of the printer substantially.
To rank these products, we set up an exhaustive testing process with over 45 different tests, split among four metrics — Ease of Use, Print Capabilities, Support, and Print Quality — assigning a score to each printer in each model. We ranked each product form 0-100, with more detail on the performance of each model in the following sections.
First and foremost in our test, the Print Quality metric made up 40% of the overall score. We printed a large selection of test model and had a rating panel judge them. Our test consisted of printing PLA and ABS for most printers but with the Zortrax's proprietary filament restrictions, we had no proxy for PLA. Every test print was printed in Z-ABS, using the recommended settings. The Zortrax did score very well, earning a 7 out of 10 in this critical metric.
The first test print we evaluated was 3D Benchy — a torture test that is frequently used to evaluate these products. The Benchy produced by the Zortrax was very smooth and the only level ABS print, though the bridging was subpar.
Next, we evaluated the bridging test and the Eiffel Tower produced by the M200. This printer is quite terrible at bridging, with the outer layers and infill drooping drastically. The Eiffel Tower broke when removing from the build plate, the structure just too fragile overall to remove with the ridiculously strong bed adhesion of the Zortrax.
Moving on to the next group prints, the Zortrax did reasonably well. The articulated elephant was average, with freely moving legs and a smooth body but having a mediocre neck and ears. The nickel test was slightly subpar, with the hole being too large and leaving wiggle room. The overhang test was superb, only dropping in quality on the steepest overhangs — similar to the Lulzbot.
The next two prints turned out poorly, as they both required substantial bridging — a weakness of the Zortrax. The platform jack had awful bridges and some wobble but still opened and closed without too much difficulty. The hollow cube had abysmal bridging but the rest was smooth and could have been cleaned up to look alright.
The M200 printed our pair of low-poly figurines with aplomb, doing an excellent job on one and an average on the other. The average one had a few mishaps with the smallest tips, dropping its score.
The Zortrax did well at printing the spiral vase and tall tower but fared poorly in our support test. The vase was great, though the wall thickness was a little high. The tall tower was smooth all the way to the top, with only a little wobble towards the very top. The M200 did poorly at the support test, requiring us to resort to pliers to remove the sacrificial components.
Finally, the Zortrax did quite well in our final two prints: a threaded lid and jar.
The threads had a few small bumps on them but still threaded together smoothly and the details on the lid were well done.
Ease of Use
Starting a trend, the Zortrax scored well in this metric — which made up 30% of the final score — earning a 7 out of 10 once again. We evaluated the ease of the initial setup and assembly, the connectivity, and display of the printer, as well as how much frustration swapping filaments and leveling the bed caused.
The initial setup on this printer was quite vexing. You need to install the build plate, attach some cable routing clips, connect some cables, add a filament spool holder and guide tube, then add the side panels and the door.
Needless to say, this was a complicated process, needlessly hindered by the unclear directions. The side panels and door were by far the most difficult part, making this printer the most difficult to assemble. However, this model was very easy to use after the initial assembly. The bed levels semi-automatically, with the printer probing and then telling you how to adjust the knobs.
This model includes an SD card to USB adapter, as this model lacks a USB connector. Prints can be loaded from a computer via this adapter, or this printer is capable of standalone printing directly from an SD card. The M200 has a small display that shows estimated time left and amount completed. It is also quite easy to swap filaments on this model, navigating to the necessary section of the menu on the machine, which will then heat the nozzle and run the extruder motor to expel the filament, similar to the FlashForge or QIDI, with the added benefit of stopping automatically — something the other two printers will not do.
This next metric accounted for 20% of the final score for these products, based on the build volume and build plate, the filament capabilities, maximum extruder temperature, and software compatibility of each model. The Zortrax M200 scored alright, earning a 5 out of 10.
This model had a somewhat average build envelope, measuring in at 200 x 200 x 180mm. The build plate was exceptional, with its gridded pattern of holes ensuring that we almost no issues with bed adhesion. In fact, we had the opposite problem with this printer, struggling to remove prints and inadvertently breaking some of the more fragile ones in the process.
The Zortrax is only compatible with the Z-Suite software program, severely limiting the settings you can adjust to fine tune your print quality. This printer is also limited to a proprietary filament, mainly due to the fact that you can not finely adjust the temperature it prints at, limited only to the preset temperature profiles.
This model only has one layer cooling fan but the extruder has a listed maximum temperature of 380°C. However, you are still restricted to the six varieties of Zortrax filament: Z-ULTRAT, Z-HIPS, Z-GLASS, Z-PETG, Z-PCABS, Z-ESD.
The final metric in our review, Support, accounts for the remaining portion of the score, 10%. We compared the ease at contacting and helpfulness of the customer support team, as well as the quality of documentation — mainly looking for instructional videos — and the included warranty with each printer. The Zortrax scored quite well, earning an 8 out of 10 for this metric.
There were a huge number of instructional videos on the manufacturer's website, covering most common issues or questions. You can contact the customer support service by support form or instant messenger. Unfortunately, there was not a phone number to contact. However, we found the response to our questions to be both prompt and helpful. Finally, there is a 24-month warranty included for the individual customer or a 12-month warranty included for the corporate purchaser.
While this printer did score well in our tests, it was also on the more expensive side — not really a value option.
The Zortrax M200 is a great all-around printer. Our main issues with this model were the somewhat horrendous assembly process and the lack of compatibility with generic filaments or other software programs. However, if you are willing to commit to Zortrax for all of your future filament purchases and can make it through the initial setup, then this might be an option to consider. You also have the added benefit of never really having to worry about bed adhesion issues again!
— David Wise and Austin Palmer
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