AnkerMake M5C Review Affordable 3D Printer with a Catch

AnkerMake M5C Review Affordable 3D Printer with a Catch

AnkerMake M5C # AnkerMake M5C: The Affordable 3D Printer with Impressive Software

When it comes to budget-friendly 3D printers, it’s often assumed that sacrificing features means compromising on quality. However, AnkerMake’s M5C breaks that mold and offers users an exceptional experience, thanks in large part to its superior software. Priced at just $399, this new version has made a few hardware changes and promises fast, consistently great prints with several improvements over its predecessor. Let’s take a closer look at what sets the M5C apart.

Small yet Important Hardware Changes

At first glance, the AnkerMake M5C may look almost identical to its predecessor, the M5. The design and color scheme remain the same, and the printing movements are virtually indistinguishable. However, AnkerMake has made some significant hardware adjustments in the M5C to reduce costs. The M5C no longer features a touch screen or a camera for remote viewing of prints. Additionally, the build plate is smaller than the original M5. Surprisingly, these reductions in features did not overly impact the overall experience. In fact, there were aspects of the M5C that I found even more impressive than its predecessor.

One notable improvement is the reduction in noise. The M5C operates significantly quieter than the M5, thanks to smarter fan usage during printing. Additionally, the M5C comes with green stoppers for the build plate, allowing for easier and more efficient return of the flexible metal to the heated base. Another hardware enhancement is the inclusion of an all-metal hotend, enabling the M5C to achieve higher temperatures and accommodate a wider range of materials. The physical interaction points on the printer are limited to the power switch and a large play-pause button, which provides quick access to critical functions without the need for navigating menus. However, it would be even more useful if the button supported multi-file printing and worked with any file sent to the printer.

Superior Software Experience

AnkerMake’s M5 received high praise for its excellent print quality with minimal effort, and the M5C maintains that reputation, albeit not at an identical level. During the ENBLE 3D printer test, it was evident that the M5C struggled with certain common printing faults such as uneven towers, stringing, and melting in overhang areas. One notable drawback was the inadequate cooling of the filament during printing, resulting in subpar quality out of the box. However, these issues can be addressed by adjusting the printer’s settings.

Despite these minor shortcomings, AnkerMake’s consistent print quality is a significant advantage. With the M5C, the absence of a camera is not a significant loss, as the likelihood of print failures has proven to be statistically insignificant. It’s a reliable printer that offers a great user experience.

Moving the Software to Laptop and Phone

One of the highlights of the AnkerMake experience is its user-friendly app. Designed for both novices and experts, the app’s Easy Mode allows anyone to easily print files with minimal instruction. This app stands out among its competitors, as it caters to users of varying skill levels without sacrificing advanced settings.

The wireless and multi-platform experience provided by the AnkerMake app is remarkable. Users can control the printer from their laptops or smartphones interchangeably, facilitating convenience and flexibility. With the ability to send commands, such as auto-leveling the bed or retracting filament, from a separate room, users can effectively manage the printing process. Parenthetically, the removal of the display from the M5C further emphasizes the importance of the app, as laptops or smartphones become the primary control screens. Although the app already offers a better experience compared to other budget 3D printers, the addition of desktop or mobile widgets, even if only displaying the print completion countdown, would enhance the user experience further.

However, while the AnkerMake app is excellent, there is room for improvement. Recent updates have cautioned users against using slicer apps outside of the AnkerMake platform, suggesting potential issues in quality or performance. Rather than discouraging users from exploring other software options, I believe AnkerMake should investigate the reasons behind this behavior and address them. For instance, incorporating the features available in Cura or PrusaSlicer, such as organic or tree-style supports, could help retain users who require those functionalities.

Should You Buy the AnkerMake M5C? Probably

If you’re in the market for a reliable 3D printer under $400, the AnkerMake M5C should be at the top of your list. Although the out-of-the-box print quality is slightly inferior to the Anycubic Kobra 2, the M5C can easily achieve comparable results with proper settings adjustments. What truly sets the M5C apart is the outstanding software experience, regularly updated with new features that can be accessed seamlessly across platforms. As long as AnkerMake continues to prioritize the user’s experience, it will enjoy a significant advantage over its competitors.