CES 2013: MakerBot Introduces New And Improved Replicator 3D Printer
Michael Harper for redOrbit.com – Your Universe Online
Televisions are often a hit at any CES event, with companies like LG, Samsung and Sony fighting to become the first to announce the latest in 3D or UltraHD displays. This year, much attention has been placed on another piece of 3D tech, the MakerBot Replicator 3D printer. 3D printing is steadily rising in the market with plenty of interest, and though current models are priced firmly outside the average consumers range, the possibilities for these printers are seemingly unending.
While the previous version of the Replicator 2 3D printer was capable of creating small figures measuring 410 cubic inches high, the new and improved Replicator can produce items about the size of a loaf of bread.
Or, as excited MakerBot CEO Bre Pettis has explained, the new Replicator 2X can print “the world, and nothing’s bigger than the world.”
This Brooklyn-based company began in 2009 with the goal to make 3D printing not only reliable, but affordable as well. Pettis now says they’ve continued to improve on their design, making significant leaps and bounds in only four years.
“I expect we’ll be building the moon base with them.”
“The MakerBot Replicator 2X has the ability to make large, ABS prints more reliably than the original replicator,” explains Pettis in his introductory YouTube video.
This new printer is aimed at those who want to push the boundaries of 3D printing, allowing for multicolor and even multi-material prints.
To help drive this new printer, MakerBot is also releasing MakerWare 1.1 software and firmware updates for existing printers and the new Replicator 2X. With this new software, users can drag the 3D models directly to the printer, as well as see their print in the colors they intend to use for the 3D object. While the previous version used an eco-friendly ABS material, the Replicator 2X uses a sturdier ABS filament and is capable of distributing it at a resolution of 100-microns.
“The redesigned thermal core and the improved alignment of the extruders really brings dual extrusion to a new level. It’s going to allow designers to stop thinking of how to print, and start thinking of what to print,” claims James Gunipero, product Manager at MakerBot.
Pettis believes the advancements made by MakerBot will allow today’s children to become even better inventors and tinkerers. While a main goal of MakerBot is to make 3D printing affordable, it’s still priced outside the reach of the average consumer. Prosumers, on the other hand, likely won’t mind paying the $2,799 for the new Replicator 2X.
With this new printer, MakerBot has essentially handed over plenty of creative license to the experimenters, asking them to take this platform and run with it, creating what they will and testing the boundaries of 3D printing. In closing, Pettis explained it this way: “The MakerBot Replicator 2X is made for those who are willing to wrestle with the challenges of ABS. If you’ve ever gone under the hood and tuned up a hot rod or rebuilt and engine or built a trebuchet from scratch, the MakerBot Replicator 2X is for you.”