The most exciting announcement (for us!) to come out of the CES 2014 (Consumer Electronics Show) in Las Vegas, Nevada, is that Makerbot has released a whole new range of printers with some awesome 3d printing improvements.
The big announcement brings 3 new exciting products and a range of equally exciting software announcements to market:
1) Makerbot Mini (featured left above), Released in Autumn in Australia.
A product that brings cost effective, feature rich and problem free printing with a small footprint. An ideal printer for the home enthusiast and the education sector. Bringing feature rich and reliable low cost 3d printing in reach of individuals and schools. Key to understanding processes behind Additive Manufacturing (AM) and allowing users to implement rapid design iterations into their models cost effectively.
Still allowing open source materials, the Makerbot Replicator Mini adds a number of neat features including a high resolution camera, wifi and USB connectivity, as well as a fully enclosed system for safe operation. The Makerbot Replicator Mini is plug and play out of the box, requires no levelling for operation and build speed. This is all supported by the ease of use interface that is used by the Makerbot Replicator 5th Gen. It utilises fast and easy, one touch printing.
2) Makerbot Replicator - Gen 5 (featured centre above) Available soon in Australia
Delivering all the reliability of it's predecessor the Replicator 2, the new Makerbot Replicator 5th Gen comes loaded with a host of rich features.
Makerbot has added a camera for remote observation of builds, improved build levelling with a visually assisted platform level and has replaced the hot end with a magnetically attached, changeable 'smart extruder' print head with built in filament detection, removing the fear of running out of material mid-build. An improved blower should mean even better quality prints in Makerbot PLA. Adding to the ease of use and functionality, Makerbot has added a 3.5 inch full colour, dial operated interface to navigate around settings. Improved gantry design has allowed for it to add an additional 11% to the build volume
It is App and Cloud enabled improving usability and connectivity. It's now possible to monitor your prints via your phone using the Makerbot Mobile App.
USB stick, USB cable, Ethernet and Wifi (coming soon) connectivity offers great options for connectivity.
Makerbot 5th Gen Build volume: 25.2 x 19.9 x 15 cm (Replicator 2: 28.5 x 15.3 x 15.5 cm)
3) Replicator Z18 - (featured right above) Coming to Australia in Autumn
Including all of the features of the new 5th Gen Makerbot Replicator, the Makerbot Replicator Z18 brings a massive 30.5mm x 30.5mm x 47.5mm build volume. A professional model capable of producing very large components reliably.
Additionally, it includes a heated, fully enclosed build volume. I suspect we may see some interesting announcements regarding this as we move closer to official release.
Makerware - The Next generation
Simple to use operation is now enhanced with a number of Makerbot applications including Makerbot Desktop, Makerbot Mobile and Makerbot Printshop. All of these to be released in Autumn (Australia). These Apps bring a new level of ease of use and content rich material to activate the creative mind.
We look forward to official releases to explore these fully in the near future.
In the words of Bre Pettis, this has created a whole new ecosystem for the 3D printing/AM landscape and we at Thinglab can't wait to see what you do with it!