Makerbot unveils the Replicator 2 3D printer

first_imgEvery geek who knows what a 3D printer is looks forward to the day when putting one of these gadgets in the home is both cost appropriate and quality assured. 3D printers are unbelievably cool, and in the right hands there’s a practically unlimited number of uses for such a creative device. At the end of the day, however, when you spend money on a product like this it helps to know that there’s a professional organization behind it. Makerbot has been one of the biggest names in the 3D printing space for a long time now, and today they showed off exactly why that is with the new Replicator 2 Desktop 3D Printer.The previous Makerbot devices were great geeky little toys, but they looked and felt a little amateur. The wooden panels were fun, but the whole machine wobbled when something was printing, and the display on the unit was pretty low quality. Granted, none of that mattered when your fun new thing popped off the plate, but really the Makerbot lacked the professional touch needed to put it in the home. The Replicator 2 is a whole new monster, made with a steel frame and milled PVC panels. The black matte finish to the device gives the machine a whole new look on the outside. Makerbot CEO Bre Pettis noted that the Replicator 2 was the company’s step from making hobbyist devices to prosumer devices, and the new design carries that tone well.On the inside, the Markebot has been heavily modified for performance. The printer has access to a larger print space without making the device itself any larger. The full print space is now 11.2 x 6.1 x 6, which is 37% larger than before. The extruders are now capable of printing at a resolution of 100 microns, which is just slightly thicker than a typical sheet of paper. This means that there will be more than twice the layers in a print job then have been seen in previous printers. As a result, everything comes out much smoother to the touch.You can also print multiple individual pieces now without a sprue grid and that line up with everything else on the plate. While you can use a variety of different materials, Markerbot has optimized the printer for their own materials. The Makerbot PLA is a bioplastic fillament made from corn, and is available in many different colors.Makerbot still allows you to use any software to send things to their devices, but now includes Makerware. The Makerware 3D modeling software allows you to build items right on a virtual Makerbot plate, so when you print you can see exactly where on the Replicator 2 the model will be printed. This makes it much easier to make sure you know what the item will look like coming out of the printer, which can occasionally be a proiblem with 3D printers. The Makerware software is designed to be as simple as possible so 3D designers of every skill level, including none at all, can use the tool. Once you click print, the Replicator 2 will start in seconds, instead of the minutes it took previous units.The Maketbot team has certainly put their best foot forward with the new Replicator 2. For $2,199 the 3D printer comes fully assembled and ready to print. The price is still a little high to put one in every home, but it is clear that Makerbot’s goal was to first release a mature product that looks great anywhere.Makerbot’s Replicator 2 is available for sale online, but now also available at the very first Makerbot Store, which is opening in New York City this week.last_img

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