Anker aims to speed up and simplify desktop 3D printing with the M5
Fabricating models, design prototypes and replacement parts on a desktop 3D printer in the home or workplace can be a great time-saver, but prints can still take many hours to complete. Anker has entered the 3D printer space to change that with the AnkerMake M5.
"3D printers help us imagine a world where ideas and creative concepts can be instantly transformed into physical form," said Steven Yang, CEO of Anker Innovations. "However, the reality is 3D printing can be slow, cumbersome, and difficult to figure out. AnkerMake is committed to removing these pain points so that artists, inventors, hobbyists and DIY enthusiasts can take advantage of a more practical tool to bring their creations to life."
AnkerMake is the new 3D printing brand from Anker Innovations and the M5 its first product release, with the company heading to Kickstarter to start the ball rolling.
Backers are promised an easy 15-minute setup process, and the 3D printer benefits from die-cast aluminum alloy construction for machine stability, while a weighty base caters for a low center of gravity. The whole shebang tips the scales at 27.3 lb (12.4 kg) and measures 19.76 x 17.24 x 18.5 in (502 x 438 x 470 mm) when assembled.
AnkerMake engineers have redesigned the typical extruder mechanism, shortening the distance between extruder and nozzle, upping the gear ratio and employing a larger heating block for the promise of reduced errors. A steel print bed with a removable PEI plate comes with 49-point auto-leveling, and allows for a large 9.25 x 9.25 x 9.8-in (235 x 235 x 250-mm) print volume. And a dual cooling system helps quickly cool down prints.
The device also features something called PowerBoost technology that makes use of a powerful stepper motor and double-belt driveshaft to bump up the M5's already pretty fast standard print speed of 250 mm-per-second at up to 0.1-mm print precision to 2,500 mm-per-second, which Anker notes will result in losses to detail but should be a good fit for rapid prototyping. "In this print mode, the M5 can reduce the average print times by up to 70 percent in comparison to other 3D printers," said the company in a press statement.
Rather than having to constantly check in on print jobs in person, AnkerMake's 3D printer comes with a built-in 30-frames-per-second HD camera with night vision to monitor progress whatever the time of day and check for issues like layer splitting and nozzle plugging – with the AI-based system notifying the operator when a problem arises via audio, LED and alerts sent to the companion mobile app.
That app allows users to tap into live video feeds, and will even automatically create a timelapsed movie when a job is completed, which can be shared to social media if that's the kind of thing your friends and followers might want to see. The app can also be used to control operation remotely and is compatible with digital assistants from Google and Amazon too.
AnkerMake has taken the M5 project to Kickstarter where limited pledges of US$499 are available as of writing, before rising to $599 when those have been snapped up. If all goes to plan, shipping is estimated to start in November.