Makerbot Replicator 2 Review
- Easy setup and operation
- Good software provided on disc
- Print PC-free
- Small build area
- Relatively expensive
The variety of materials you can print with isn’t large, and th emachine is optimized for PLA. The print results are beautiful and reach a resolution relatively high for FDM printers up to 0.1 mm (100 microns) and experienced users will be able to calibrate it even more. The interface allows preset configuration using the software or personal setting of the temperature, speed and other printing features. [Buy it now]
From a month’s experience with the Replicator 2 printer I can say that it delivers what it promises. The printer is larger than the standard, the interface is easy to learn and it allows full configuration of the location of objects on the printing surface in a convenient user-friendly way, with the option of using a preset printing profile or personal setting of a printing profile adjusted for the type of material and the user’s need. It’s possible to know the printing time and approximate quantity of material in advance by selecting the preview function.
Material replacement in the Replicator 2 is a simple and convenient process. The built-in screen provides clear and simple instructions and the interface is easy to understand. Note the material quality and the replacement frequency, because if you replace it several times a day – the extruder may get stuck, and then fault handling at a level higher than that the built-in interface provides might be necessary. You can find easy explanations regarding the handling of most faults in a short 3 minute video here:
The entire procedure takes less than 15 minutes but requires the user’s confidence in the ability to disassemble and reassemble the extruder.
In addition, there may be an occasional fault of lack of adhesion to the printing surface, usually the fault handling will be done by canceling the printing and starting it again. Every few prints, especially when this fault is repeated sequentially, calibrate the surface height. This is a simple built-in action that takes about five minutes. Despite the small and uncomfortable screen, the interface provides clear and simple instructions in short steps and speaks in first person. After calibration you can turn the printer back on immediately with no additional calibrations.
Another fault I encountered was wrong cutting of the object being printed by the print preparation software. This fault usually occurred during preparation for printing of multiple objects on the same printing surface using a model drawn using SketchUp software. Handling of the fault was done by correcting the object using NetFabb software, used for testing and repairing 3-D files.
The printer consumes relatively little power, about 150 watts, since it doesn’t have a heating pad. This issue is an advantage, but also a significant disadvantage. On the one hand, you can print only with materials such as PLA, which don’t require a heating pad, but the amount of faults is relatively low and the printer operator doesn’t have to be a 3-D printing expert to create fine and good products. On the other hand, a heating pad allows printing with materials such as ABS and flexible materials that require gradual and balanced cooling. In addition, the heating pad consumes a lot of power, can be a source of problems and direct contact with it during printing may cause a burn.
User experience during the printer operation is enhanced with a sound that is played at the beginning and end of each print, as well as by using LED lighting directed toward the inside of the printer. [Buy it now]
Easy setup and operation. Quiet. Good software provided on disc with a clear and thorough user manual. The printers comes with spool of PLA plastic. Ample tool kit. Can print PC-free once a job is loaded. It's also worth remembering that the MakerBot2 has an extremely active user community which means that you will almost always find an answer to any question you might have regarding the printer.
The Bad Small build area, which does not allow for big models and the machine is relatively expensive considering its capabilities. We found that it can occasionally be tricky to remove objects from the perfboard.
The Verdict Generally speaking, MakerBot Replicator2 delivers what it promises.