Stratasys' (SSYS) MakerBot Announces New 3-D Printing Solutions Geared at Professionals, Educators

September 20, 2016 11:18 AM EDT

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MakerBot announced new 3D printing solutions that address the wider needs of professionals and educators. MakerBot believes its new solutions offer engineers and designers a faster and more effective way to develop ideas and offer educators a better way to integrate 3D printing in the classroom to teach creativity and problem solving.

The new MakerBot Print and Mobile applications are designed to allow professionals to easily integrate MakerBot into their workflow and help educators introduce their students to 3D printing. These applications help streamline the print preparation process, save time, and produce higher quality prints. The new MakerBot Replicator+ and Replicator Mini+ have been re-engineered and tested to provide improved performance—that means faster, easier, and more reliable printing with a bigger build volume. With the new MakerBot Slate Gray Tough PLA Filament Bundle, engineers can create more durable, high-impact strength prototypes and fixtures. For educators, MakerBot is also launching Thingiverse Education to discover 3D printing classroom content created by other educators. To see MakerBot’s new solutions for professionals and educators in action, please visit makerbot.com. A full press kit is available here.

“We have gone through a cultural shift here at MakerBot over the past year, where listening and understanding the needs of our customers are cornerstones of our company. As a result, we’ve gained an in-depth understanding of the wider needs of professionals and educators that has informed our product development process,” said Jonathan Jaglom, CEO of MakerBot. “Our new solutions for professionals and educators are based on feedback addressing how we could accelerate and streamline the iterative design process and make teaching with a desktop 3D printer easier and more effective.”

MakerBot Print & Mobile

Integrating desktop 3D printing into your design workflow can be challenging and time consuming. That’s why MakerBot has developed connected 3D printing solutions that make the process easier. A new version of MakerBot Mobile includes a Guided Setup feature that walks the user through the entire 3D printer setup process step by step. Once you’re up and running, the new MakerBot Print software helps streamline the 3D printing experience for any workflow. Native CAD Support1, for example, allows users to easily import common CAD files2 and assemblies. This new feature eliminates the need for STL files and can result in significant time savings by reducing the number of files the user needs to manage and mundane steps for each iteration. Users can now even organize 3D files and multiple build plates into projects and easily email project files as attachments to collaborate with others. Storing information as complete project files instead of stand-alone model files allows users to save the print settings and build plate layout of one or more designs as one file.

MakerBot Print also enhances the print preparation process, saving time and helping users achieve high quality prints. The new Auto Arrange feature automatically positions objects across multiple build plates to print them simultaneously or sequentially. With Dynamic Print Settings3, users can change settings like resolution or thickness for each individual model on the build plate, saving time by printing models with varying print settings simultaneously. A new Print Preview option lets users review the Smart Extruder+’s path to make adjustments before printing a model. Users can either review each individual layer or play an animated video preview to see support material placement and validate that small features are printable.

MakerBot Print and the new MakerBot Mobile app support different office or classroom setups by building upon MakerBot’s remote monitoring and printing capabilities. Individual users and small to large organizations now have the flexibility to control and monitor multiple 3D printers throughout an office or school, in different buildings, or even different parts of the world through live camera feeds and print status updates. MakerBot Print and an updated version of MakerBot Mobile are available now.

MakerBot Replicator+ and Replicator Mini+

The new MakerBot Replicator+ and Replicator Mini+ have been re-engineered and tested to provide improved performance—that means faster, easier, and more reliable printing with a bigger build volume. Both printers feature an improved gantry and Z-stage through stiffer materials and sturdier construction for consistent and predictable printing. MakerBot’s new 3D printers went through extensive printer and subsystem testing of 380,000+ hours4 across multiple facilities over the course of development to help ensure reliable, high quality performance. During this process, MakerBot worked closely with Stratasys to implement new, consistent procedures for enhanced print quality, product lifetime testing, and for validating test results.

The new MakerBot Replicator+ and Replicator Mini+ are both faster and quieter than their predecessors and feature larger build volumes for printing bigger models or more prints at one time. The MakerBot Replicator+ is approximately 30 percent faster, has a 25 percent larger build volume, and is 27 percent quieter than the MakerBot Replicator 5th Generation Desktop 3D Printer. The MakerBot Replicator Mini+ is approximately 10 percent faster5, has a 28 percent larger build volume, and is 58 percent quieter than the MakerBot Replicator Mini Compact 3D Printer. The MakerBot Replicator+ and Replicator Mini+ both come with the swappable MakerBot Smart Extruder+, which is designed and tested to provide improved performance over a longer period of time.

When it comes to 3D printing, designers and engineers put a high priority on predictability and how accurately a print resembles its digital model. In that regard, the new MakerBot Replicator+ and MakerBot Replicator Mini+ improve several aspects of print quality, including print precision, surface appearance, and reduced warping and curling. These print quality improvements are enabled by the re-engineered hardware, including the gantry, Z-Stage, build plate, and extruder carriage (Replicator+ only), in combination with fine-tuned firmware and a new slicing engine. The MakerBot Replicator+ also features a flexible build plate, making it easy to remove larger prints by simply bending the plate. The new Grip Build Surface included on both new printers ensures that prints adhere better without the use of blue tape, resulting in improved reliability and reduced warping and curling. Redesigned rafts and supports break away more easily for a cleaner print surface of printed parts.

The industrial design team at Canary, the fastest growing home security startup, has been using MakerBot 3D Printers for a while and recently had a chance to test MakerBot’s new solutions for professionals. "Using a MakerBot Desktop 3D Printer helped us accelerate the development of the new Canary Flex by allowing us to prototype quickly and go through multiple iterations of the design” said James Krause, Director of Industrial Design at Canary. “We were enthusiastic to test the new MakerBot Replicator+ and right away we noticed the faster workflow, as well as huge improvements to print quality and speed."

The MakerBot Replicator+ has an MSRP of $2499 and the MakerBot Replicator Mini+ has a MSRP of $1299 and both are available now. MakerBot is offering the MakerBot Replicator+ at an introductory price of $1999 and the MakerBot Replicator Mini+ at $999 until October 31, 2016.

Slate Gray Tough PLA Filament Bundle

MakerBot is also launching a new Slate Gray Tough PLA Filament Bundle that is designed to allow professionals to create durable, high-impact strength prototypes and fixtures that save time and money in testing. The new bundle consists of three spools of MakerBot Tough PLA Filament in slate gray bundled with the MakerBot Tough PLA Smart Extruder+. MakerBot Tough PLA combines the best characteristics of PLA and ABS filament: It is as tough as ABS with similar tensile, compressive, and flexural strength and it prints as easily and reliably as PLA. It's also designed to flex more before breaking, similar to ABS. These qualities make it especially suitable for functional prototypes and prototyping jigs and fixtures with threaded and snap fits. MakerBot Tough PLA has been tested and optimized to print reliably and easily with the Tough PLA Smart Extruder+. The Slate Gray Tough PLA Filament Bundle has a MSRP of $379 and is available now.

"The new MakerBot Tough PLA is a workhorse for functional printing. We mainly use it for prototyping parts and jigs for product cycle testing,” said Mack Mor, Senior Product Engineer at OXO, who’s been testing MakerBot Tough PLA over the past months. “The flexibility is key for parts that don't break, even with thin features that would normally be troublesome. The interlayer adhesion is strong, but the raft is still super easy to remove. The material also slides well so it is good for snap fits."

To help engineers and designers take their prototypes to the next level, MakerBot is also releasing step-by-step guides that explain techniques such as gluing, sanding, painting, vacuum forming, brass inserts and silicon molding.

Thingiverse Education Thingiverse Education is a new platform that allows educators to connect with each other to learn 3D printing best practices and exchange knowledge, already offering over 100 lesson plans created by other educators and vetted by MakerBot’s education and curriculum experts. Educators can filter lesson plans by subject or grade, and, in the spirit of Thingiverse, remix them to match specific learning goals. “We believe that Implementing 3D printing in the classroom can only be successful if the technology complements a teacher's goals for their students,” said Drew Lentz, MakerBot Learning Manager. “With a new section of Thingiverse dedicated to educational content, teachers can engage in a rich community of educators to find lesson plans, resources, and to find more ways to use 3D Printing in the classroom than ever before.” Thingiverse Education will be available in the coming days.

To learn more about MakerBot’s solutions for professionals and educators, please visit makerbot.com.



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