Makerbot just released their new Method 3D Printer, a successor to Replicator+ with a clear merging of Stratasys technology into the Makerbot brand. Let’s see what’s new!
Makerbot have finally released a new Method 3D Printer so let’s check out the new features and who they are targeting with this “from-the-ground-up” refreshing 3D Printer.
I’ve been waiting for a new fresh start from Makerbot, where they utilize their patents and technology from Stratasys, their owner since 2013.
The Replicator+ was released in 2016 and it looks like they’ve been hard at work since!
New Makerbot Method 3D Printer features
It’s clear that Makerbot are bringing in technology from their “parent” Stratasys while still building upon the Replicator heritage and the features that were working best.
Dual Extrusion / Solvable support materials
Makerbot have finally incorporated solvable support material (again). This time fully featured dual extrusion with dedicated support material extruder.
This is a feature found in Stratasys lineup of 3D printers and almost a requirement for staying competitive in the professional segment.
Circulating Heated Chamber
Building on the Replicator Z18 heated chamber, Makerbot Method’s new circulating heating chamber looks really promising and should ensure both dry and warp-free models, keeping the material in optimal working temperature.
Personally I prefer a well controlled heated chamber as it does spread the heat around, keeping the parts equally hot. This in theory provides better dimensional stability.
Smarter Dual Extruders
The newly developed extruders include now industry-standard filament-detection that helps track the extrusion and clogs. This also works to detect a jam and can automatically pause the printer, waiting for user service.
A longer thermal tube provides beter material control and a faster heating time. Although I suspect the heated chamber will be the slowest part to heat up.
Dual Drive extrusion
To keep pushing filament out while pulling within the long tubes from the filament bays you need a good drive system. The Makerbot Method have a 19:1 geared dual drive to just that.
There seems to be extruders in the filament bay as well, helping with loading material. I’m still unsure if they also help push filament through the printer during printing (if that’s even necessary).
Dry-Sealed Smart Filament bays
A new and interesting feature of the Makerbot Method is the sealed filament bays at the bottom of the machine.
When you’re using PVA filament you need to be extra careful with humidity as moisture (or water) literally dissolves that material.
By sealing the chambers humidity should be much easier to handle as well.
The bays also have a filament loading motor, to assist pushing the filament through the machine up to the extruder. Loading materials don’t really get easier than that!
Within the Filament bay, where the new RFID-chipped spools lay, there’s a sensor reading how much filament is left on the spool, and if it’s enough for the print you’re about to start.
While I’m against locking users to only use 1 brand of filament, the sensors are great for customers who choose it. When writing this article it’s still unclear if you can use 3rd party filaments.
Makerbot Method 3D Printer Tech specs
After checking out the main features I know you want to know all the other interesting specs. Let’s have a look at the numbers and features equally impressive.
- Technology: FDM – Fused Deposition Modeling
- Extruders: 2 (two individual extruders)
- Build Volume 1 extruder: 190x190x196 mm (7.5 x 7.5 x 7.75″)
- Build Volume 2 extruders: 152x190x196 mm (6.0 x 7.5 x 7.75″)
- Layer resolution: 0.020 – 0.400 mm (Optimized profiles in 0.100/0.200mm)
- Nozzle size: 0,4 mm
- Dimensional accuracy: ± 0.2 mm
- Supported Material: Makerbot PLA, Tough, PVA and PETG (with more to be announced)
- Material flow: Up to 50 mm3 per sec
- Build plate adhesion: Removable flexible steel build plate
- Chamber temperature: Heated with circulation
- Display: 5″ Color touch screen
- Surveillance: 640×480 pixel camera,
- Sensors: Temperature meater, Humidity sensor, Meterial detection, Encode (jam detection), Lid/door sensors, calibration sensors, RFID, Material color, Material left and more.
- Calibration: Automatic nozzle and build plate/Z-axis calibration.
- Software: MakerBot Print, MakerBot Mobile
- Operating systems: Windows (7, 10) Mac OS X (10.9+)
What to expect from the new Makerbot Method 3D Printer
There’s no hiding that Makerbot have a uphill battle to recover reputation in the business from what many consider is selling out and moving away from open-source.
To be fair, more companies that grow larger are doing similar moves when the competition gets tougher.
I personally have acknowledged that Makerbot are not the same Makerbot as 5 years ago and with their target audience closer to Stratasys customers than hobbyists I have no problem looking objectively at the new Method 3D Printer.
It looks like a very well put together 3D printer that offers a good high-tech machine with features that looks to minimize “hands-on” interaction.
The Makerbot Method 3D Printer looks to be a great tool creating visual prototypes for design and engineering customers. The price should reflect the work put in to this machine and it’s features.
Comparing to competitors in the market, we’re looking at a more streamlined machine that offers great features for prototyping in several segments.
Makerbot already have a great software platform dealing with native CAD-formats and assemblies, making the step from CAD-file to print remarkable easy.
Who is the Makerbot Method 3D Printer for?
I believe the price, features, filaments available are all targeted for “soon-to-be-Stratasys” customers.
These are the type of companies and schools with a need of design productivity that might have several designers, teachers, students or engineers working there.
It feels like there’s a pretty clear line drawn between Stratasys production machines and the Makerbot Method. You’re “not suppose” to create real-world prototypes in manufacturing-simulating materials with the Makerbot Method.
Those features are “reserved” for the more industry-orientated Stratasys 3D Printers. Although the Tough Filament and PETG are great for more productive tasks, they are not (at least today) close enough to production materials to function as true prototyping.
So where does this leave us?
I think Makerbot have made a really competitive product, that targets the competitors in the FDM segmet with strong features, suitable build size and price tag to do actually compete again.
I’m super excited to see how users all around the world experience the Makerbot Method 3D printer. I’m sure it will be a great machine to share in your office.
I’d be super interested to try one out and evaluate the PVA-printing and producivity of this machine.
Time will tell if that’s possible!
Leave your comments down below and let me what you think about the Makerbot Method 3D Printer! Don’t forget to share and check out out other articles!