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20 September 2012, 13:05

MakerBot announces new Replicator 3D printer

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Zoom The Replicator 2 3D printer
Source: MakerBot
New York-based company MakerBot Industries has presented its latest 3D printer: priced at $2,199, the Replicator 2 has replaced previous wooden housings with a steel chassis and achieves a resolution of 0.1mm. The printer is controlled via the new MakerWare software; while the beta software itself is proprietary, it uses many open source components. MakerBot has also opened a dedicated retail store in New York where prospective customers can test and buy the 3D printers.

The company notes that the build platform of Replicator 2 has 37 per cent more volume and can be used to build objects of up to 28cm ×15cm × 15cm in size. The printer uses PLA Filament, a bioplastic material that warps less than ABS while cooling down. Unlike the original Replicator, which was introduced in January, Replicator 2 only has one print head and is, therefore, not capable of printing objects in two colours. Having only one print head also makes it impossible to print supporting structures for overhangs in another material.

These features are scheduled to be reintegrated into the also announcedPDF Replicator 2X, which is not yet ready for production. MakerBot has, therefore, called the incomplete model an experimental 3D printer for "daredevil designers". Replicator 2X is scheduled for release in early 2013 and already available to pre-order for $2,799.

Zoom MakerWare in action
Source: MakerBot
The company has replaced the previously used ReplicatorG control software with the new MakerWare. MakerBot says that calculating printer control data from 3D models is now up to 20 times faster than before. Models in STL and OBJ formats can be imported and then freely positioned and combined on the build platform. The new THING format is available for project files.

That the company has truly made the step from garage shop to manufacturer is also demonstrated by two other announcements: MakerBot now offers a one year service and support package called MakerCare that can be added for $350 when purchasing a device. In addition, the company has opened a retail store not far from Broadway in Manhattan where MakerBot printers and printed objects are available to purchase seven days a week.


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