MakerBot Replicator 2: Specifications, Features, Pros, Cons

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MakerBot Replicator 2

Detailed review of MakerBot Replicator 2 to help you in your buying decision.

Introduction

MakerBot Replicator 2 Review: The MakerBot Replicator is the most widely used 3D printer among consumers. The credit for igniting consumer interest in 3D printing goes to this model. The US Army, MIT, and NASA are among the many supporters of this high-end 3D printer.

Even though the Replicator 2 is a very powerful 3D printing platform for the desktop, it cannot be said to be perfect. Though the reviews are good, there are a few critics who believe it is not worth the money. 

MakerBot has established itself as a market leader in desktop 3D printing. The company has done an outstanding job with the design and user experience of its 3D printers. They have also brought complex industrial functionality to home users and small enterprises. They’ve improved a lot since they got into manufacturing 3D printers some years back.

The 3D printer is simple to operate, has a lot of capabilities, and is reasonably priced for performance. 

It’s easy to set up and use the software, and printing your 3D files is a pleasure.

Most 3D printers are do-it-yourself projects and require the user to have some basic knowledge. The Replicator 2 offers one of the most comprehensive out-of-the-box experiences available.

For individuals wishing to mass-produce specialized goods, the MakerBot Replicator 2 is a great option. 

This is a good printer for your desktop use offering a huge inner work space as well as more user friendly interface. It also comes fully built, so you can start printing as soon as you’ve finished configuring it.

Yet, it is too pricey for amateurs or casual printers. 

MakerBot Replicator 2 Review: Design

The Replicator is a big printer and thus best placed on its own table or bench. It measures 16.2 by 17.4 by 20.8 inches (HWD) and weighs 35 pounds 6 ounces.  It has a build volume of 5.9 by 7.8 by 9.9 inches.

Its strong frame opens from the front, sides, and top, giving easy access to the print bed and monitoring of prints in progress. For a 3D printer, the open frame has the downside of making the Replicator relatively noisy. 

It’s a highly durable 3D printer. The frame is powder-coated steel, and the bearings are also abrasion-resistant. Replicator 2 has no problem printing in colder locations — as long as your room is between 0 and 32 degrees.

To control the 3D printer there is a small LCD screen, albeit with limited functionality. Still, it’s a wonderful option to have and, if nothing else, it looks great. You can also import your models straight from a USB memory stick, or from a computer.

Printing

There are 3 print quality options available with this 3D printer. The models look great at higher resolutions. Although the edges could be crisper, they were good enough. 

The Replicator 2 is particularly good at building complex interior constructions. This is true even with minimal stepping sharper edges. There is one difficulty. PLA is the only material that the Replicator 2 can print with. Even the most basic printers support ABS. So, this is a bit of a letdown.

The output quality is consistently very high to exceptional. The print quality is somewhat better compared to other competing 3D printers at even lower resolutions. 

MakerBot brags about the Replicator 2’s speed but it’s not impressive. In fact, there are much faster and yet cheaper 3D printers.  The Replicator performs especially well while producing objects made up of geometric shapes.

Also read our other 3D printer reviews: Anycubic i3 Mega, Flashforge Finder, Creality CR-10 S5, Artillery Sidewinder X1, Peopoly Moai

Pricing

With a price tag of $2500, this isn’t the cheapest printer in the market.

For buying this 3D printer, you will have to go through a third-party vendor as MakerBot in replacing older versions of 3D printers from their stores. 

The current version, the Replicator+, is about the same price. So, there’s no reason to choose the Replicator 2 unless you want it.

PLA is also one of the most cost-effective materials available.  Yet, you can only use MakerBot filament. 

As you might expect, a 200g spool costs $18, which is a little more costly. However, there are many discounts available.

The printer’s price range puts it out of reach for the majority of people. But, it performs well and is cost-effective for small-scale commercial applications.

MakerBot Replicator 2 Review: Support

The MakerBot Replicator 2 has good technical assistance. You will get tutorials and guidelines, as well as the ability to search for a specific error code.

When you register your printer after buying it from a third party, you will be eligible for MakerCare, a 60-day support program.

Premium plans last for three years and have faster response times. They also support more channels.

Yet, one can’t buy it online; one will have to handle all MakerCare inquiries by phone. If a customer isn’t covered by MakerCare, they should expect to hear back about any concerns in three days. It’s important to be reminded that the validity of the guarantee is for six months. After that, it is the customer’s responsibility.

Core features of the MakerBot Replicator 2

Let’s look at the features of this amazingly popular 3D printer

  1. Large Build Area

The Replicator 2 features a huge build area, measuring 11.2′′ x 6′′ x 6.1′′ on the schematic. This corresponds to 410 cubic inches of space to deal with. For a desktop printer, this is certainly not bad.

2. Improved PLA Material

MakerBot uses its own PLA print material to optimize its printers. This improves quality control. There is no possibility of third-party print material and this is a source of concern.

3. Layer Resolution of 100 Microns:

The layer resolution of the Replicator 2 is 100 microns, making it the one the best available in the 3D printing space. Having two extruders in desktop 3D printers is a desirable feature. 

4. Dual Extruders

You’d expect dual extruders at this price, and that’s exactly what you get! Printing in many colors is possible because of two extruders.  Depending on your project’s exact goals, this can increase the options.

5. Free Software

Even though the architecture of the Replicator 2 is closed, the software can use a range of free programs and CAD systems. MakerBot has its own “MakerWare” software, which has the most downloads in the industry.  It is available for free download independent of your 3D printing system.

Plug and Play Architecture

Replicator 2’s selling point is that, for such a powerful machine, it’s as simple as plugging it in, loading the PLA spool, and pressing the print button.

Technical Specifications

The technical specifications of the Replicator 2 are as follows:

  • Build Area  : 11.2″ x 6″ x 6.1″
  • Print Speed : 80-100mm/sec
  • Filament Material : ABS / PLA
  • Layer Resolution : 100 microns
  • Extruders   : Two
  • Nozzle Diameter   :  0.4mm
  • Closed Frame   : Yes

Pros or Advantages of MakerBot Replicator 2

Let’s review the advantages of owning the Replicator 2:

Sleek Interface

The good design and user interface were among the first things that one notices. MakerBot offers user interface designs in the 3D printing space that is compared with Apple. Everything looks organized in a sensible manner and does not appear to be part of a DIY kit.

PLA Filament of Good Quality

MakerBot manufactures its own PLA filament for use in their printers. Their PLA filament is good for printing high-precision goods. There is no need for post-processing cleanup. The most difficult and time-consuming activity is post-production cleaning. Wisps, peeling, and curling are common in lower-end 3D printers. This is easily avoided here.

Very Good Software

MakerBot is recognized for its printers, but its software is likely to be more used than its printers. Many other printing companies use MakerBot software, particularly open source printers. It’s one of the most technically superior and user-friendly machines available. It has a significant amount of work to develop and update the program. 

This gives it a professional appearance and functionality. For example, a recent upgrade improved the load speed for high-resolution prints. This results in significant time and efficiency savings.

Highly Active User Community

MakerBot has a user community that is always prepared to exchange ideas and in solving problems. This part is mostly ignored when people purchase a 3D printer. Having a large community following is essential for getting the most out of your 3D printing investment. This is due to the fact that home 3D printing is still in its early stages.

Get Printing Out of Box

While some other “plug and play” printers claim to require no setup, the Replicator 2 is by far the easiest to connect and print with. While it may take some time for the user to perfect their printing skills, the Replicator 2 is ever ready to print.

Cons or Drawbacks of MakerBot Replicator 2

Let us look at the pitfalls in owning the Replicator 2::

Clogging of Print Head

This is a problem that every 3D printer encounters. These issues also affect the Replicator 2.   “Print failures” will appear after a few hundred prints.  If under warranty, there are two choices: order replacement heads from MakerBot or buy a nice off-market print head. There are alternatives for better quality print heads. UPDATE: Extruder issues have been resolved in more recent Replicator 2 machines.

Acrylic Build Plate

After a dozen prints, this can become an issue.  The acrylic build plate not being flat enough for the print models was blamed for some of the few small defects. 

A simple remedy is to get a decent aftermarket build plate, but this may be too much for the non-tinkering type.

Not Suitable for ABS Filament

While the Replicator 2 is well-suited to their specialized PLA, it is not well-suited to ABS. This is not an issue for most people on the work they are doing, and yet could be a problem.

Final Conclusions – Is the price justified?

MakerBot is a reputed 3D printer manufacturer. Although it is more expensive than some of the competing models, it offers a greater print area for larger projects. The Replicator 2 has a bucket list of amazing features and the quality is one the category best.

While it has some reliability difficulties, it generally works well and produces industrial-grade output for a fraction of the cost. In conclusion, despite a few setbacks, it works as per specifications and is a good investment in the long run.

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