Anker Launches Super-Fast 3D Printer on Kickstarter
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At-home 3D printing seemed like the next big thing ten years ago, but it never got off the ground as we hoped. Sure, you can still buy your own 3D printer, but they’re not much better than the machines that failed to capture the general public’s attention. Maybe it’s a matter of speed? Anker, which is best-known for charging accessories, is betting people will be interested in a faster 3D printer. Its new AnkerMake M5 has a normal print mode, as well as a turbo mode that spits out parts with a few rough edges, but it uses AI to ensure everything goes smoothly. Maybe that’s a trade-off that will get people interested — the Kickstarter campaign has already blown through its early bird deals and raised well over $1 million. 

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In its default mode, the AnkerMake M5 prints 250mm per second, which is comparable to other consumer-grade printers. This gets you a smooth, detailed print suitable for a final product. If you’re just prototyping or tinkering, the M5 has a speedier mode that can do up to 2,500mm per second. This vastly cuts down the time of a printing job, but you end up with a less detailed object and more potential flaws. This mode is about 70 percent faster than other consumer printers, according to Anker. 

The AnkerMake M5 has an open design that is easy to assemble — it reportedly only takes about 15 minutes and one screw to get the machine up and running. With the super-fast print head and no protective enclosure, you might be worried about printing jobs going awry. Anker has you covered with an integrated HD camera. That’s not an uncommon feature on 3D printers today, but Anker goes one step further with an AI engine that can identify potential issues via the camera feed. If your layers don’t line up or the print head becomes clogged, the printer will push an alert to your phone. You can also monitor prints in real-time from the phone app and view timelapse videos of your finished projects. 

There was intense interest in consumer 3D printing back in the early teens, with companies like MakerBot getting a ton of press coverage. Industrial 3D printing pioneer Stratasys acquired MakerBot and Thingiverse with the intention of fostering further development in at-home printing. However, the company scaled back consumer operations just a few years later due to waning sales. The AnkerMake M5 has people excited, though. The Kickstarter launched today with a starting price of $429, but that reward tier is already gone, as is the higher $499 option. You’ll have to pay at least $599 right now to get an M5, which is 21 percent off the final retail price. Anker expects to ship the devices in November 2022. As usual, joining a Kickstarter campaign comes with a measure of risk, even with established companies like Anker.

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