New Matter launched a new 3D printer this week on Kickstarter. I got a demo of the MOD-t—at a coffee shop, no less—and I was quite impressed. At $300, it’s a self-contained 3D printer with a small footprint and industrial design aimed at consumers, rather than tinkerers. It uses PLA filament plastic.
When Steve Schell, CEO of New Matter, did a press tour in the Bay Area for the MOD-t (2nd Gen), I dragged him to a coffee shop in San Jose. I mention this because these folks unpacked their prototype, set it up, and had it running in 7 minutes. On a coffee shop table. To be sure, there were some software setup steps already done on this device, but the company says out of the box, users can get the MOD-t (2nd Gen) up and running in 20 minutes.
I recorded the real-time video below as MOD-t was printing out a demo keychain. The whole print took a little more than 20 minutes. The first part of my video is with the case off as the printer prints the inner lattice-work. The second half of the video is with the case on, as described below.
New Matter MOD-t (2nd gen) 3d Printer in Action — at a Coffee Shop
The next thing that struck me is that the MOD-t (2nd Gen) is both self-contained and not ugly. I’ve seen several entry-level 3D printers at CES, for instance, that are ugly, ungainly, and even flimsy. New Matter paid attention to its industrial design, however, as it’s aiming the device at consumers.
The third thing I noticed is that the MOD-t (2nd Gen) is quiet. I was in a busy coffee shop, rather than a quiet home, for my demo, but there was a significant reduction in noise from the printer when the clear Plexiglas cover was on.
Another thing that sets MOD-t (2nd Gen) apart from its competition is that it uses servo motors, rather than stepper motors. This gives the device higher control, meaning one can theoretically make prints with finer details. I know just enough about motors to get myself in trouble, but that checks. Working with servos is harder, but it offers greater control.
Replaceable, Flexible Printing Plate
New Matter built MOD-t (2nd Gen) to use a reusable, replaceable, and flexible printing plate. In practice, that means users can detach a new print simply by bending the plate until the print pops off. Because it’s replaceable, should anything ever happen to your printing plate, you can change it out in just a few seconds.
New Matter launched the first generation MOD-t on Kickstarter with a successful campaign. That device shipped, and the new campaign is less about bootstrapping than it is about raising awareness. MOD-t (2nd Gen) is supposed to ship in the spring of 2018, and the company is far along in the development process.
The Kickstarter has already raised more than US$88,000 out of its initial $100,000 goal, with 27 days left in the campaign. As of this writing, there are pledge levels that will get you a MOD-t (2nd Gen) starting at $249.