MakerBot CEO Bre Pettis announced the MakerBot Replicator 3D Printing Platform including the new Mini, Z18, and prosumer Replicators. This “platform” consists of the MakerBot Replicator Mini, a smaller 3D printer with the build volume of the original MakerBot Cupcake, the large Z18, and a new Replicator printer.
The first in the family is a new, smaller Replicator called the Mini. Pettis called it the “consumer 3D printer” with one-touch 3D printing as well as printing via mobile devices. It includes Wi-Fi and a built-in camera so you can monitor the things you build on the device. It also requires no leveling to print in PLA filament. You can also share photos of your device taken from inside the Mini thanks to a built-in camera. The Mini has an easy-to-maintain extruder that snaps in and out of the device. It costs $1,379 and will ship in the spring. “It’s kind of a big deal,” said Pettis.
The company also announced the MakerBot Replicator (actually the fifth generation of the device), a prosumer machine that prints in PLA filament. It has an 11% larger build volume (8x10x6 inches), faster build times, and has 100-micron layer resolution. A 3.5-inch screen on the device allows you to print right from it and preheat the printer or change the filament. You can connect to the machine via Wi-Fi, USB stick, Ethernet, or USB. It also allows you to access your own personal 3D object library and includes a small camera to monitor your print progress as well an instant build plate leveling system. It is available today for $2,899 and will ship in a few weeks.
They also showed the new MakerBot Z18, a huge replicator that can make objects at 12x12x18 inches – a truly gigantic build envelope. Pettis said that the company would use the device to make MakerBots. It has an enclosed build chamber and prints in PLA.
The company has also updated the desktop app for monitoring and controlling your printer as well as a mobile app that sends alerts when things happen on the printer and in the cloud.
After dedicating his presentation to all the MakerBot operators around the world, Pettis also announced a partnership with Softkinetic, a 3D sensor manufacturer to create the “futuristic 3D scanners of tomorrow.”
“Makerbot is an innovation company. We innovate so others can innovate,” he said. “We’re a manufacturing education in a box.”
Pettis announced that the company has sold more than 44,000 MakerBots and currently has 450 employees around the world. He expects to see a million MakerBots “in the distance.” There are also more than 218,000 digital designs uploaded to and 48 million downloads from the company’s 3D digital design sharing platform, Thingiverse.
Pettis also described the success of their two retail stores in Boston and Manhattan as well as the new store in Greenwich, CT. Each store has a 3D photo booth where customers can scan and print their own heads and purchase MakerBots and plastic filament. Finally Pettis announced MakerBot Entertainment, a set of toys and character models that users can buy and print at home. The products are part of the MakerBot’s burgeoning 3D model shopping experience.
In short, MakerBot updated their entire line and has proven itself, again, to be the Apple of the 3D printing industry. More as we get it.