By David Ponce
News of the MakerBot Replicator had already been out for some time before CES, but I’m happy to say that seeing it in person got me much more excited about the tech. If you haven’t heard, this is a 3D printer for home use. Any 3D object you can think of, anything you can either design in a CAD program or even download from the Thingiverse (a user-populated marketplace of pre-made CAD files) is yours to simply print right at home. In the back of the machine are spools of ABS plastic that are fed into the system, heated up and extruded (glue-gun style) from the printer head. It’ll then slowly make your object, layer by layer. It’s simply awesome.
A few caveats. The printed objects have a slightly rough surface. This is because each layer is visible as the extruded plastic is tube-like; two circles stacked atop each other will not form a smooth surface. You can clearly see this in my video, after the jump. It’s not a huge problem however because these “tubes” are so tiny (much, much less than 1mm). Still some people prefer to sand their objects once completed. Also, it’s a very slow process. A figurine like the one in my video can take 30 minutes or so. Still, you’re buying this for home use, so go make yourself a coffee and stop bitching about awesome tech.
It’s $1,750 for the one-spool replicator, and $2,000 for two spools, which gives you more color options. A 1kg spool of ABS plastic costs around $43.
Hit the jump for two videos: one shitty one, mine. And one good one, the company’s.