On April 6, a Kickstarter campaign from tech firm Anker introduced the AnkerMake M5 3D printer. Anker’s first 3D printer shows off a variety of features in its Kickstarter campaign, such as an accelerated printing speed that reduces print time by 70%, and a built-in AI camera for monitoring progress and recording time-lapse videos.
These features have clearly won over many in the 3D printing market, as the M5 has already earned over $6.7 million / £5.3 million from over 10,000 backers. The campaign ends on May 21 (with shipping beginning in August), so there’s still plenty of time for this number to swell even further.
The M5’s trailer alone, where a man meticulously prints and paints a toy, shows the printing potential for fans and developers of tabletop miniatures games. The M5 will cost you slightly more than your typical board game Kickstarters, however. The lowest pledge you can make for any kind of reward is $599 / £478.73, and this gets you the M5 3D printer plus 150g of free filament, a toolbox and a quick start guide for “easy, three-step assembly”, and one year’s warranty.
The Kickstarter campaign actually offers the M5 at a discount. In one of the page’s updates, Anker explains the retail price of the M5 was intended to be $759 / £606.60 – a figure that has already risen to $799 / £638.57. According to Anker, this is due to the impact of “the increasing prices of computer chips and aluminium” on manufacturing costs.
The Kickstarter campaign shows off many other details of the M5. It can reportedly print at an accelerated speed of up to 2,500mm/s, has a maximum print volume of 235 x 235 x 250mm, and it claims to deliver smooth layers at 0.1mm. The M5’s standard operating speed is 250mm/s, but the page claims this is five times faster than the standard operating speed of regular 3D printers. Anker also says the printer’s extruder and aluminium structure are designed to enhance printing precision, while the accompanying app and software allow you to print and monitor progress remotely.
The M5 also claims to bring simplicity as well as efficiency to 3D printing. It was designed for easy assembly, to minimise the presence of bulky wires, and with a touch screen that, according to Anker, “makes the most common tasks easy”. These many features, along with other details found on the Kickstarter page, have already won the M5 3D printer the 2022 Tom’s Hardware Innovation Award.
Anker is a Chinese electronics company best known for producing computer and mobile peripherals. AnkerMake is one of its brands, created to focus on 3D printers. “We’re a group of engineers and hobbyists”, AnkerMake says on the M5’s Kickstarter page, “who love to make exciting prints that we can geek out about with our friends”.
If you’re interested in 3D printing your own components, check out the best 3D printers for printing miniatures. Be sure to check out our guide to painting miniatures too – after all, all those newly printed minis deserve a proper paint job.