Sep 20, 2016 | By Nick

MakerBot has launched the new MakerBot Replicator+, the company’s first ever professional-grade 3D printer, and a completely new Makerbot Replicator Mini+.

It has also released a complete line-up of tools, software and 3D printer filament aimed at professional users and schools. It includes a software suite, improved integration with the mobile apps and a new Tough PLA 3D printing filament that offers many of the qualities of ABS with the ease of printing and reliability of PLA.

Makerbot confined itself to consumer 3D printers in the past and it has been through the wars. Quality control issues, a backlash from the open source community over patenting crowd-sourced technology and a sell-out to Stratasys all combined to rake MakerBot’s names over the coals. Its stock plummeted, the company laid off a huge number of staff and eventually outsourced the production of its hardware.

The company has laid relatively low and hasn’t produced much of note since its last new 3D printer line-up in 2014. This, then, is the comeback and MakerBot is keen to promote the fact that each 3D printer has undergone more than 380,000 hours of testing in a variety of conditions. So we shouldn’t see any repeat of the previous problems.

“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,” said Jonathan Jaglom, CEO of MakerBot.

“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.”

The MakerBot Replicator+ is not an evolution, it’s a complete redesign of the 3D printer and comes with a 25% larger build volume area. It’s also 30% faster, 27% quieter and it’s quantifiably better across the board. Under and over extrusion in solid fill areas is much-improved, it offers more precise arcs and curves and it offers a cleaner break for supporting structures.

The MakerBot Replicator+ is available right now and while the retail price will rise to $2499, the company has offered the discount price of $1999 until October 31st.

The Replicator Mini+ has come in for a similarly comprehensive overhaul, too. It’s print volume has increased by 28% to 10.1x12.6x12.6cm and its print speed by 10%. Despite its small size, it weighs in at a reassuringly sturdy 20.5lb. The 3D printer is also designed to work seamlessly with MakerBot’s mobile app. It’s on sale now for just $999 and will increase in price to $1299 at the end of October.

Both 3D printers come with a heavily revised Smart Extruder + that comes with double the warranty of the outgoing model and more reliable results thanks to 160,000 hours of development work on a part that has been a weak point for MakerBot in the past.

The company also took the opportunity to release what looks to be an innovative filament that promises the strength and finish of ABS, without the complications.

You’ll need to invest in a separate Tough PLA Smart Extruder + to make the most of it, but MakerBot claims that it will print as easily as PLA, it has less issues than traditional ABS with warping and deformation and it’s a great solution for engineers that need to produce durable and precise prototypes. The Slate Grey Tough PLA bundle, which includes the extruder, costs $379.

The company also introduced MakerBot Print, which is a software suite that’s designed to make the whole 3D printing process much more streamlined, simple and accessible. It’s allows users to import 20 different Native CAD files and means you don’t need STL files. An Auto Arrange feature means you can control multiple build plates at one time and Dynamic Print settings mean you can tweak the resolution, thickness or other minor details in the print software itself.

The software even does a simulation print, producing an animated video of the 3D printer’s predicted output so you can spot any potential issues and save a substantial amount in wasted filament.

It works in conjunction with the MakerBot Mobile app and that means that everyone from a school class to a large company can monitor a number of different 3D printers, which come with onboard cameras, and remote print from a smartphone.

This is a lot of new information and product in one day from MakerBot and it’s a positive sign from a company that was written off by the critics not so long ago. The new products look solid and providing they don’t make the same mistakes again then this could just be the rebirth of MakerBot.



Posted in 3D Printer



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Len wrote at 9/22/2016 12:10:49 AM:

Prices for the replicator+ in Australia is $6000 and Makerbot won't sell direct, even trying to find out the official reseller the Makerbot site requires you to enter all your details. Doesn't sound like the actions of a successful company to me. Sad, love my replicator2.

Captain Crunch wrote at 9/21/2016 6:40:16 PM:

Did Makerbot ever benefit from any of Stratasys' intellectual property or were they left to their own devices?

I.AM.Magic wrote at 9/21/2016 8:55:07 AM:

Oops, forgot to add. Always the same...CAD rendering, "happy people" picture, but never the final 3D printed part! the thing that actually matters.

I.AM.Magic wrote at 9/21/2016 8:53:21 AM:

Finally! I almost thought that Stratasys gave up on Makerbot. Let's hope it's not too late for them.

Unsatisfied makerbot user wrote at 9/21/2016 2:19:05 AM:

How can anyone consider a PLA only machine a "Professional" machine? I bought into the makerbot hype back on the rep 2, and I can assure you that makerbot doesn't care about its customers, or quality control, or being honest about its machines and "how much" they tested them. Maybe they have actually pulled their heads out of their butts on this one, we won't know until it's actually reviewed by someone not paid off by makerbot (remember all the raving reviews and awards for the 5th gen, when their bots didn't even run, and how bad they were when they actually came out) I already feel bad for misled early adopters of this new model.

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