MakerBot unveils three new 3D printers at CES: Giant, compact, and "just right"
By Heidi Hoopes
January 7, 2014
Today at CES saw MakerBot going big, literally, with its announcement of three new 3D printers, the largest being the Replicator Z18 named after its impressive 18-inch print height. Of the two other models announced today, the Replicator upgrades the company’s “prosumer” offering, and the Replicator Mini is designed with students, educators, and workplaces in mind.
The Z18 is designed for oversized industrial prototyping and modeling, with a full build volume of 12 x 12 x 18 in (30.5 x 30.5 x 45.7 cm), for a total build volume of 2,592 cubic inches (.042 cubic m). To further support printing large models, the build plate is extra flat and the print chamber is enclosed and heated. Multiple models can be printed simultaneously.
The Z18 is not yet available, with orders possible in spring of this year (Northern Hemisphere) at an expected price of US$6,499.
As with the Z18, the Replicator Mini is not yet available for purchase. This compact 3D printer is designed to offer quick and easy prints, with “one-touch” printing and a build plate that requires no leveling. Meant to perch on a desk, the Mini has a build volume of 3.9 x 3.9 x 4.9 in (10.0 x 10.0 x 12.5 cm). It will be available to purchase for $1,375.
If these two models represent the Papa Bear and Baby Bear of 3D printers, the last model, the matter-of-factly named Replicator, is the one designed to be "just right." It's the company’s fifth-generation “prosumer” offering, designed for the user who wants a compromise of professional quality and price. While the 4th generation model was confusingly named the Replicator 2, the newest Replicator features an extra 11 percent build volume over its predecessor.
Like its other siblings announced today, the Replicator ships with other upgraded features in addition to its size: the Smart Extruder system which detects when the machine is out of filament and pauses printing, an on-board camera for print monitoring, and app and cloud connectivity
The Replicator is already available for purchase from MakerBot’s website with a price tag of US$2,899, which includes one starter roll of PLA filament.
The Replicator and Replicator Z18 offer 100-micron resolution, while the Mini prints at 200 microns for faster prints.
Also announced for spring is the MakerBot mobile app for remote monitoring of the camera feed and receiving notifications and alerts of print progress.