Yesterday MakerBot unveiled their next generation 3D printer, cleverly naming it the Replicator in a nod to the similar devices seen in Star Trek. But instead of instantly producing a piping hot cup of Earl Grey tea, the Replicator methodically turns 3D models into real-life plastic creations.
The new model has a larger printing bed than the original, and while the previous MakerBot wasn't on display at their booth for comparison, having played with it in the past, the size difference between the new and old machines isn't really noticeable. So if you're thinking of upgrading, you won't be losing desktop real estate, you'll just be gaining printing capacity.
The ability to print in two colours at the same time is the most lauded new feature. Facilitated by an awesome sounding "Dualstrusion technology" printhead which feeds raw plastic strands from a set of spindles on the back of the printer. The laser cut wood housing still gives the Replicator the feeling of being a bit on the homebrew side, while printing it doesn't wobble all over the place. Just don't expect results that look like they've come from Jony Ive's skunkworks. The printed results still have that layered effect, where you can literally see the individual passes of the printhead. Nevertheless, at $US2000 with the dual extruder print head it's still the cheapest 3D printer you can buy. [MakerBot]