The MakerBot press conference on CES 2014 Press Day was quite remarkable, both for the breadth of announcements and for the passion and excitement that MakerBot CEO Bre Pettis showed for the work that they are undertaking. Perhaps owing to the Samsung Press Conference – where sharks were jumped – but the genuine love of the product that his company has built that Pettis displayed was a much needed change of pace on CES Press Day. While I may be a minority in this position, but the unscripted and much, much less expensive MakerBot press event was infinitely more effective than the Samsung CGI display.
Anyhow, griping aside. MakerBot made an awful lot of announcements. To start, the company announced three brand new models of their 3D printer.
MakerBot Replicator Mini
The MakerBot Replicator Mini is, as Pettis Called it “One touch 3D Printing.” It truly is. Pettis, aptly, compared the three new MakerBots to digital cameras.The MakerBot Replicator Mini, then, is in line with the consumer point-and-click camera: very little learning curve, simple to set-up and use, and is the cheapest of the three at $1375.
The MakerBot Replicator Mini has a build volume of 3.9 L x 3.9 W x 4.9 H inches. It was built for speed and utilizes a build plate that requires no leveling, and produces a default 200-micron layer resolution in prints. The Mini, as well as all of the new models, are optimized for MakerBot PLA Filament, the companies incredibly cheap, green bioplastic made from corn. The Mini is asseccasble through either WiFi or a USB cord.
Continuing with the digital camera analogy, Pettis called The MakerBot Replicator the prosumer DSLR model. The Replicator is the perfect desktop 3D printer for the experienced professional.
The Replicator has a build volume of 9.9 L x 7.8 W x 5.9 H inches. The Replicator prints at a default 100-micron layer resolution, but this can easily be changed to a higher resolution for more detailed prints, or a lower resolution for faster rapid builds. The printer also includes a first for MakerBots: a 3.5 inch LCD display panel, which Pettis claimed made the Replicator 100% idiot proof. Like the Mini above, the Replicator is optimized for the PLA Filament, and is accessible through WiFi, USB, but also includes an Ethernet connection. The Replicator is priced at $2899.
MakerBot Replicator Z18
The Z18 is the top-of-the-line, industrial strength 3D Printer. This thing is a beast. It has a massive build volume of 12 L x 12 W x 18 H inches. It allows for the largest builds of any MakerBot printer, and allows for multiple smaller builds at the same time. It also includes a superflat, easy to level buildplate. The Z18 is priced at $6499 and will be available in Spring 2014.
All of the new MakerBots include an internal camera that allows for the monitoring of builds.
But wait, there was more.
MakerBot announced three new apps to power their printers. A desktop app, a mobile app, and a re-imagined way to design and build with MakerBot Printshop.