January 7, 2014
Makerbot Shows Off New Line Of Affordable 3D Printers
Brett Smith for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online
Not the cheapest model on the market, the Replicator Mini 3D printer features one-touch 3D printing and can print objects with a maximum build volume of 4 x 4 x 6 inches. The company also debuted the MakerBot Replicator, which costs just under $2,900, and the Replicator Z18, which costs nearly $6,500.
“We believe that the MakerBot 3D Ecosystem we are presenting to the world fulfills the vision of a 3D printer for everyone,” said Bre Pettis, MakerBot CEO. “Years and years of hard work and dreams are packed into these 3D printers, 3D scanner, apps, and the new MakerBot Digital Store. We have laid the groundwork for everyone to be able to be a creative explorer. We can’t contain our excitement to unleash the MakerBot 3D Ecosystem to the world.”
Founded in 2009, MakerBot released one of the first commercially available 3D printers. Since then, an entire 3D printing industry has risen up around the company and this year’s CES will feature 28 exhibitors showing off competing models.
With the debut of three new models at different price points, the company appears to be marketing its brand to potential consumers at many different tiers.
Described by MakerBot as the “3D printer for everyone,” the MakerBot Replicator Mini is priced above some other 3D printers. Compared by Pettis to a point-and-shoot camera, the Mini is supposed to be easy for novices to use. To create something, users can make 3-D models and buy existing models for 99 cents or more using a tablet app. After picking a model to print, a novice user can send the instructions to the printer and press the printer’s single button to start the creation process.
Three-dimensional printers work by laying down successive layers of material into a predetermined shape or object. A small camera in the Mini allows a user to monitor this process. The printer can also upload an image of the finished products to the cloud and share them on social networks.
“The MakerBot Replicator Mini is just right for smaller spaces such as college dorm rooms, classrooms, multi-workspaces, and the home,” the company said.
The new MakerBot Replicator is an updated version of the company’s classic model capable of printing objects 11 percent larger than its predecessor. One prominent new feature is a 3.5-inch LCD screen on the front of the printer.
The largest new model is the Replicator Z18, a $6,500-juggernaut designed for industrial or professional use. Named after its 18-inch height, the Z18 can print multiple objects at once and includes both the LCD screen and interior camera of the other two models.
As part of its plan to make 3D printing ubiquitous, MakerBot announced a crowd-funding campaign in November to put a desktop 3D printer in every American school. Through the website DonorsChoose, teachers can register their class for a MakerBot Academy bundle, which includes a printer, three spools of filament (in red, white and blue) and a one-year MakerBot protection plan.