CREAT3Dís 1st day with the new MakerBot Replicator 3D Printer
Wednesday, 9 April 2014 | Sabina Gonzalez-George
We got our hands on our batch of new MakerBot Replicator (5th Generation) desktop 3D printers last week and immediately had a play with it.
The MakerBot Replicator (5th Generation) is an excellent, straight-forward, consistent desktop 3D printer. It is well thought out, with the user’s experience at the forefront of its design and use. It is great for those who are new to 3D printing or want a reliable, easy-to-use 3D printer that will consistently churn out good quality prints. Although for those who wish to experiment more with exotic materials or are looking for a multi-head printer, then the MakerBot may not be for you.
Here’s a short guide and some extra tips on setting it up ready to get 3D printing.
It’s well packaged and well presented, as you’d expect from MakerBot, and comes with absolutely everything you need to get up and running. The unboxing process is easy with minimal things to be done to prepare for printing.
Particularly impressive is the MakerBot Smart Extruder which fastens via the use of four magnetic attachments, super simple to fit. Also impressive is the semi-auto levelling of the print bed, which involves rotating two knobs until the light comes on. Simple and straight-forward.
The LCD screen is really clear and concise and a nice touch is that it displays a picture of your 3D model next to the name, very handy if you have a long list of models.
Whole host of options
For inputting your 3D print-ready files, there is a whole host of options. So far we’ve used a USB cable and USB stick. Ethernet cable is another option, as is the Wi-Fi which will come later (just waiting for software and firmware updates to follow to enable the option).
There’s also internal memory where you can store a selection of your 3D files, a great little tool if you are printing some parts regularly.
New software MakerBot Desktop
Downloading the software was easy and straight-forward. When first connecting the printer, there was a message to update the firmware with an approximate load time of 15 minutes. After 45 minutes nothing seemed to be happening so we disconnected and all seems to be running fine. A bit odd, but not a problem.
The new MakerBot Desktop software is similar to MakerWare, very intuitive, quick and easy to use. You can pick up the functions quickly and get to grips with it straight away even if new to 3D printing.
We are yet to use the on-board camera, a nifty little accessory to the MakerBot Replicator (5thGeneration) 3D printer, so you can watch your 3D print progress from afar via MakerBot Desktop or Mobile apps. We’re looking forward to using the MakerBot Mobile App when it becomes available and ready to give Wi-Fi file transfer a go.
The only down-side that we’ve come across is the lack of control in some of the functions, so for example, having dropped something underneath the print bed, we couldn’t find an option to raise the print bed to allow us to retrieve it. Minor thing and maybe we should be more careful!
So in short…
The MakerBot Replicator 5th Generation 3D printer is an excellent, straight-forward, consistent desktop 3D printer with some great features. It’s well thought out, with the user’s experience at the forefront of its design and use. It is great for those who are new to 3D printing or for those who want a reliable, easy-to-use 3D printer that will consistently churn out good quality prints. For those who wish to experiment more with exotic materials or are looking for a multi-head printer, then the MakerBot may not be for you.
In stock now.