New Matter MOD-t 3D Printer Review: Low Cost, User-Friendly Creation

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New Matter MOD-t Setup And Use

The setup and use of the printer was relatively simple. The actual printer itself is very sleek in design. It looks as if it belongs in a futuristic lab instead of an everyday office. Inside the box there was the actual printer, its clear top, a spool holder and filament spool, a USB 2.0 cable, a print tray and surface, the power supply and AC power cord, a metal-bristled brush, a scraper, and a utility cutter. The setup of the printer was incredibly intuitive and (almost) did not require the user manual.

side with spool

Once the printer was assembled, I was prompted by the manual to go to http://www.newmatter.com/set-up. There I downloaded the necessary software and registered my device, and connected to my home Wifi. The instructions on the website were concise and clear, and the entire software set-up was completed in under ten minutes.

The only tricky part about the process was loading the filament into the printer. Users are supposed to push the filament into a hole on the back on the printer until it protrudes between 2-3 inches from a clear tube. The user must then press the “load filament” button on the New Matter webpage and push the filament into the nozzle. This was a little confusing, however a useful video on the help page aided me through the process.

Once I had successfully set-up the device, it was time to print. There are several designs on store.newmatter.com that simply need to be added to one’s “Library”. Most of the designs are free, however, a couple of them cost between $1-$3 USD. I selected my design (a turtle now named Walter) and clicked on “Print Now”. I picked my printer from the MOD-t drop-down list and then clicked “Print”.

printing calibrating temperature turtle

The printer took about two minutes to heat up and calibrate. According to the webpage, the nozzle registered at around 206℃ (402.8℉). A test with the Etekcity Lasergrip 800 Thermometer Temperature Gun revealed that the webpage was accurate. The plastic cover of the printer remained at room temperature throughout the printing processes.

The machine was relatively quiet. The ambient sound volume of the room was 32 dB and the machine averaged 42 dB while running. The machine got as loud as 51 dB when doing rapid adjustments.  For comparison a quiet home or office with light sound measures between 40 and 60 dB. I found the printer to be softer in sound than say a dish washer and substantially quieter than a regular paper printer, which is actually impressive. The printer does not give off any smell unless you stick your nose through the open handles on the plastic cover. If you do, the printer will smell similar to a warmed hot glue gun. I do not recommend doing this and only did so for the sake of science of course.

printing outline

The webpage lets users know how far along their creation is in the printing process. Once done, the nozzle will rise up and the user will be able to pick up their creation. A little leftover string will remain between the item and the nozzle, however this can be easily removed with the provided wire-bristled brush.  

I found the item to be cool to the touch once it was finished, but very difficult to remove from the printer plate. It took quite a bit of force with the provided scraper in order remove Walter the Turtle. The thicker the item, the harder it is to remove. The guide says that if there is excess filament strings on the plate, they can be removed from the brush. I found, however, that using the bristle-brush directly on the plate produced a number of scratches. The creations themselves often have a few leftover strings which can be a pain to remove.

printing second later

printing three layers

The user guide recommends cleaning the print surface plate every 3-5 builds with a no-residue, citrus-based, oil-free cleanser and a cotton or microfiber cloth. This step is definitely a necessity because the plate can collect plenty of filament residue. Since the printer plate is intended to be consumable, the user guide also recommends that it be replaced every 15-20 builds or when the creations no longer adhere properly to the plate. I decided to clean my printer plate after three uses since two of my projects were rather large. I cleaned the printer plate with a little bit of the recommended soap, however, I could still see the shadow of all the projects I had done, remaining on the plate.

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