I have my eyes on the Moai too, and I have been lurking on their forums for a few months now. My takeaway and the reason I haven’t bought a Moai 130 yet is :
They are truly open to community feedback and very reactive on the forums. They support user mods and even lead other users to useful mods. Their printer seems to be functioning like a Form 1 with tilting bed and no resin dispensing, but they have an FEP vat option. They’re the only manufacturer in their price range and segment offering a dedicated software for their machine, while still being open to other solutions (you can feed standard G code to their machines). Their design is simple and made of mostly standard parts so it’s easily use-serviceable/modifiable/reparable.
Now for the negatives… I honestly think they’re more tinkerers than professionals. The design isn’t well thought out and well tested, and they’re still figuring basic stuff out. One example :
- There has been an ongoing issue with Z banding (horizontal artifacts)
- One user shared a hardware mod to make the Z axis more rigid (it’s not very well thought out hardware-wise to begin with, and this is more a patch over bad design)
- Reports from other users are so-so on this mod (some have seen their solution solved, others report no changes(
- Peopoly announced an “add-on” to make the Z axis more rigid, but hardware-wise it’s again a not very good solution… and they have since admitted that some people have had their Z axis delivered with faults in the assembly. So tightening some bolts solves the issue but Peopoly is still planning in selling a hardware add-on to solve it ?
- In the meantime, another user has been investigating electromagnetic emissions from the add-on heater module provided by Peopoly, and has realized it was perturbing the galvanometers. Peopoly has since said on the forums that some PSUs for the heater are faulty, without being able to say which batch and initiate a replacement.
- Non of these issues and resolution have been the object of a formal, official post on the forum, blog or website
Now to be clear I am STILL considering buying one of their machines. Another I am considering is the Phrozen Shuffle XL or their new Kickstarter the Transform. These seems to be much better build from a mechanical standpoint, but also have their drawbacks and since it’s not an open design fixing stuff is only up to the company whereas with Moai at least you can fix a lot of the issues yourself. It’s also a an LCD DLP machine and this leads to some hard-to-find parts being semi consumables (the LCDs).
All of this is the reason I have bought two Formlabs machines at work and not another machine. They’re just the best at this price point. There are two reasons for me to not buy a Form 2/3 for personnal use :
- Being dependent on Formlabs’ willingness to continue to support the machine to be able to use it is a big no-go. As an individual hobbyist unwilling/unable to get any revenue from his 3D printer I have to make it last as long as possible
EDIT : feel free to contribute to this thread if you feel like it : What would you choose as a printer for private use?