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Review: New Matter’s MOD-t 3D printer is ingeniously simple

Lucas Mearian | June 13, 2016
The MOD-t is slow but produces decent-quality models for a beginner-friendly price.

Lastly, I didn't find the software very user-friendly. Nothing's obvious, as it should be with a plug-and-play machine. For example, if you want to start a print job by uploading a model file, you have to discover a small icon in the shape of a person's bust at the top right corner of the Web page. Icons need labels if they're not obvious.

After uploading a file for printing, sometimes it shows up in a virtual print area to adjust settings, and sometimes it doesn't. I'm not certain why that happens. I suppose over time, I'd learn how to manipulate the functions more easily, but with an entry-level machine, every function should be obvious.

Print tests

My initial print with the MOD-t was of the hippo figurine whose design I uploaded to the printer from New Matter's network. As I stated earlier, it took a whopping five hours to print, but the quality was good.

Next, I printed a chess piece, a "Pokemon queen." The piece is relatively small -- about 4 in. high and 1 in. in diameter -- and it took two hours to print. Again, the quality was good.

However, when I gave this printer its most difficult task -- to print a 5-in.-high Eiffel Tower -- it failed miserably and didn't come close to reproducing the object accurately. The extruder was unable to create the intricate scaffolding, and it went off track about halfway through the build, leaving me with a spaghetti mess of filament.

To be candid, I wasn't surprised. Only higher-end, over-$1,000 desktop 3D printers are typically able to recreate the intricate latticework of the Eiffel Tower -- and even then they're few and far between. I've even had 3D printers that cost over $2,000 fail the task, so in this case, I kept my fingers crossed. Put simply, it isn't a 3D printer capable of producing great detail.

My last test for this printer was to create multiple objects at the same time. Unfortunately, because you cannot manipulate where on the platform an object prints, you must upload chess pieces in sets. I chose a set of two.

pair of printed rook chess pieces 
The MOD-t 3D printer is capable of producing multiple pieces at the same time, such as these two chess rooks, which took four hours to print. Credit: Lucas Mearian

The two chess pieces, each about 5 in. tall and up to 2 in. in diameter, took four hours to print, which was extremely slow. They were both adequate in quality.

Bottom line

If I were to compare this printer to any other, it would be the da Vinci Junior 1.0, an entry-level machine from XYZprinting that retails for $295 (Amazon price) and that I reviewed a year ago.

 

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