MakerBot has returned after more than two years of developing a new desktop FDM 3D printer – the MakerBot Method – this time focused on the professional product designer
Targeting the offices of design studios, the MakerBot Method 3D printer rekindles the brand’s product line for a space much more developed than the one it helped spawn with the original Replicator in 2012.
The new offering is much more polished, including a heat circulating sealed build chamber, dual extruders, PVA water soluble support material, and dry-sealed material bays.
The biggest change comes in the chassis: a custom die cast and stamped steel frame is purpose built to add all the rigidity of a race car roll cage.
This adds real solidity and weight to the machine, and allows for detail and repeatability in builds.
A powerful 19:1 gear ratio that MakerBot claims is three-times the push force of a typical desktop 3D printer shunts a consistent feed of material into the 3D printer’s hot end to help produce consistent geometry and sharp corners.
A new lengthened thermal core adds to the faster extrusion rates at a fine ± 0.2 mm layer thickness.
Pro desktop machines are now expected to print in exotic materials, and while the Method comes ready to print MakerBot Tough, MakerBot PLA, and MakerBot PVA, ‘Specialty Materials’ have been promised, with PETG already announced.
“Current desktop 3D printers derive their DNA from hobbyist 3D printers and are insufficient for many applications in the professional segment,” said MakerBot CEO Nadav Goshen.
Goshen added that Method has been built for professionals who ‘need immediate access to a 3D printer that can deliver industrial performance to accelerate their design cycles’.
Available to order now, the MakerBot Method will cost $6,499 and begins shipping at the beginning of Q1 2019.
The latest product from MakerBot is a finely tuned desktop-sized unit, where all the demands of professional usage have been considered and then doubled-down on, resulting in a very capable package for a smidge under $6,500.
Away from the spec sheet, this is a very smart, intuitive 3D printer that can be used by anyone without thinking about it. Loaded with 21 sensors, a 5-inch touch-screen display and self-calibrating-everything, the 3D printer will inform and walk the user right through set-up until they hit print.
MakerBot stresses all the product’s design was completed inhouse, it would be odd to think that the expertise of Stratasys’ Fortus and F123 range didn’t play into the development at some point, especially given the fully heated 190 x 190 x 190mm build chamber.
The USP for the Method, however, is to remove user intervention from the process – for a designer to hit print before leaving the office and arriving the next morning to a completed, dimensionally accurate, faultless part with as minimal hassle as possible.
The Pro desktop 3D printing sector is truly heating up, with competition including highly regarded options from Ultimaker and MarkForged, so stay tuned for a full hands-on review of the Method in the New Year.