Positive Signs

Brand New MakerBot Replicator+ is Faster, Bigger, Quieter

makerbot replicator+

Big round of announcements from MakerBot, including a new MakerBot Replicator+, new filaments, and new apps for professionals and educators.

MakerBot, the struggling poster-child of desktop 3D printing, has launched a range of new 3D printing solutions to rejuvenate their tarnished brand.

Unveiled last night at their Brooklyn HQ were a pair of MakerBot Replicator+ and Replicator Mini+ desktop 3D printers; a MakerBot Slate Gray Tough PLA Filament; and several new applications for professional and educational use.

The avalanche of announcements served to underline the company’s strategic pivot from consumers towards the industrial and educational sectors. MakerBot CEO Jonathan Jaglom said in a press release:

“We have gone through a cultural shift here at MakerBot over the past year, where listening and understanding the needs of our customers are cornerstones of our company. As a result, we’ve gained an in-depth understanding of the wider needs of professionals and educators that has informed our product development process. Our new solutions for professionals and educators are based on feedback addressing how we could accelerate and streamline the iterative design process and make teaching with a desktop 3D printer easier and more effective.”

So what’s the skinny? First up are the new MakerBot Replicator+ and Replicator Mini+, which have been re-engineered to provide greater performance. The company is promising faster, easier, and more reliable printing with a bigger build volume.

On the materials front, there’s a new MakerBot Slate Gray Tough PLA Filament Bundle. This is for engineers to create stronger prototypes and fixtures that are more durable and impact resistant.

Next are the MakerBot Print and Mobile apps, to allow professional to better integrate MakerBot into their workflow and help teachers introduce students to 3D printing. The software is designed to streamline the print preparation process and produce better quality prints.

Finally, MakerBot is launching a Thingiverse Education portal to aggregrate 3D printer models created by educators for the classroom.

More Details on MakerBot Replicator+ and Replicator Mini+

Given how MakerBot hasn’t released a new machine since 2014 — a yawning eternity in technological terms — the new 3D printers are perhaps the most exciting development.

The company claims their new MakerBot Replicator+ and Replicator Mini+ are both faster and quieter than their predecessors, and feature larger build volumes for printing bigger models (or more prints) at one time.

In summary:

  • Both the new MakerBot Replicator+ and Replicator Mini+  feature an improved gantry and Z-stage through stiffer materials and sturdier construction for consistent and predictable printing.
  • The MakerBot Replicator+ is approximately 30 percent faster, has a 25 percent larger build volume, and is 27 percent quieter than the MakerBot Replicator 5th Generation Desktop 3D Printer.
  • The MakerBot Replicator Mini+ is approximately 10 percent faster, has a 28 percent larger build volume, and is 58 percent quieter than the MakerBot Replicator Mini Compact 3D Printer.
  • The MakerBot Replicator+ and Replicator Mini+ both come with the swappable MakerBot Smart Extruder+, which is designed and tested to provide improved performance over a longer period of time.
  • The new Grip Build Surface included on both new printers ensures that prints adhere better without the use of blue tape, resulting in improved reliability and reduced warping and curling.
  • The MakerBot Replicator+ also features a flexible build plate, making it easy to remove larger prints by simply bending the plate.

MakerBot is very keen to emphasise the quality control and testing that went into the new hardware, while also leveraging the expertise of parent company Stratasys. According to the press release:

“MakerBot’s new 3D printers went through extensive printer and subsystem testing of 380,000+ hours across multiple facilities over the course of development to help ensure reliable, high quality performance. During this process, MakerBot worked closely with Stratasys to implement new, consistent procedures for enhanced print quality, product lifetime testing, and for validating test results.”

All of this is presumably an attempt to put the lingering controversy over faulty Smart Extruders to rest.

Both machines are available to buy now. The MakerBot Replicator+ will retail for $2499, while the MakerBot Replicator Mini+ retails for $1299.

For early adopters, the company is offering the MakerBot Replicator+ at an introductory price of $1999 and the MakerBot Replicator Mini+ at $999 until 31 October 2016.

makerbot replicator+