MakerBot® unveiled something a little different in Las Vegas last week.
The MakerBot® Replicator™ 2X Experimental 3D Printer is the big brother to the recently released fourth generation MakerBot Replicator 2.
The PR blurb says the following..."The new MakerBot Replicator 2X Experimental Desktop 3D Printer pushes the boundaries of 3D printing and is designed for the 3D printing enthusiast that wants a full-featured desktop 3D printer optimized for printing with ABS Filament and ready to explore the frontiers of 3D printing."
Essentially it is a machine for a 3D printing experts to play with, the Replicator 2 released in late 2012 uses PLA filament, the 2X is designed to be able to use ABS even though ABS can be harder to play with.
The 2X has been developed to handle ANB and it's challenges. it has a redesigned heated build platform and the heat-capturing enclosure optimizes it for use with ABS Filament. The re-engineered extruder supports experimental dual extrusion for anyone who is ready to take on the challenge, and is now easier to maintain. The enclosure helps to stabilize the cooling period so that you have less worry about shrinkage, it also offers 100-micron layer resolution.
So, finally a 3D Printing machine manufacturer admitting that there is still distance to go before we can print anything in any materials. To be frank that is music to my ears, given I've been in this industry since 1997 I've seen a fair few false dawns and promises made, particularly in the last few months, but CEO, Bre Pettis laid it on the line when we caught up with him on the rammed booth at CES 2013, Las Vegas.
“If you want to experiment with a 3D printer and see where it can take you, the 2X is for you. It's not for a novice user, it is for people who understand the technology and want to explore the mad scientist inside themselves!"
So what is possible with the dual extrusion printer, well, obviously two colour printing is now feasible, along with variable resolution, dual printing, multiple material objects, density variation and the use of soluble supports.
The new release of MakerBot MakerWare will also make generating dual extrusion models easier than ever. A new drag and drop feature allows different models to be dropped onto the virtual build plate and viewed in the colors that you plan to print them.
So if you have the courage and patience to face the inconsistencies of ABS and the difficulty of dual extrusion, and you like a challenge and fancy a play then get one of these on order now.
The MakerBot Replicator 2X Experimental 3D Printer will begin shipping in mid-March and will be priced at $2,799.