Weeks and weeks ago (six to be exact) I placed an order for a new Makerbot Replicator 3D printer for the workshop. At that time I was informed that my order would take anywhere from 10 to 12 weeks for the new tool to arrive. I was pleasantly surprised a couple of days ago to have UPS show up at my door with my new favorite tool / toy! If you have been following along with my blog for a while you will know that I have been traveling 70 miles one way to get to use another Makerbot 3D printer at the QC Co-Lab maker space in Davenport Iowa. It has finally come time for me to buy my own. So here are photos of my new acquisition.
The arrival of the new 3D printer could not have come at a better time as I have been more than busy doing renovations on my bedrooms in my house and building a new platform bed to put into my room. (See earlier posts of this project) I was more than happy to take a break from all of the remodeling, painting, staining, varnishing and dust and dirt to get to play with this impressive machine. Now progress can be made on projects long shelved because of the lack of this tool.
The new Makerbot Replicator 3D printer is the latest and greatest offering from the Makerbot company. After only working with this new printer for about five hours I am already VERY impressed with it's capabilities. I unpacked it from the shipping box the first night and inside of an hour I was making perfect parts. This has got to be the Apple Ipod of 3D printers. Very easy to set up and use right out of the box. The main structure of the printer is roughly 18" wide, 15" tall and 12 1/2 deep. The printer has a build area of 6 x 9 x 6 inches. This for me was a big selling point for most of the projects I have worked on and have planned. The fact that I did not have to be an electronics genius to put it together was an even bigger plus. From out of the box to up and running in less than an hour works for me.
On the front of the Makerbot Replicator is an LCD screen and control buttons that walk you through everything from setting up the machine to actually using it on a simple easy to read display. I am talking English here not techno babble that is Greek or should I say Geek to the rest of us in the normal world.
After setting up the build platform so that it was perfectly level with the dual print heads in the Replicator I printed this little test cube to see how things looked. All looked well at this point so I thought I might as well try and print something for a small project that I currently have planned and is much more useful.
These two pieces were the first real parts from the Makerbot Replicator that will be used in an upcoming project. On a scale of 1 to 10 I would have to say that these parts were very close if not a ten in my book of parts that I have made with a 3D printer. The filament that is used in the new printer is 1.75 mm in diameter which gives a very fine extrusion for a smoother finish that looks terrific. The Makerbot Replicator has dual print heads and is fed by two separate filament spools mounted on the back of the printer.
Both of these parts took 2 hours 10 minutes each to print. I never once touched the machine during the printing of them. Press a button and let it do it's thing. Amazing to create something like this and not have to babysit the machine to get what you want. But it's not hard to sit and watch parts being made. Very entertaining and productive at the same time. These parts are 1.5 inches thick, 2 inches wide and 2.5 inches tall. The inside of the shapes are a honey comb matrix structure that is strong and very light weight. With this matrix the shapes use very little plastic. Pennies on the dollar to make prototype parts such as these. Let the designing and building of new projects begin!