MakerBot Replicator+ Review: Features, Functions & Capabilities

A MakerBot Replicator+ 3D printer finishing printing a model house with a blue roof.

Buying a 3D printer on appearance alone is not a good idea.

It’s important to make sure that the printer will meet your needs and not be too complicated to use or have features beyond your capabilities.

The best way to ensure that you’re selecting the right printer for you is to take a close look at all of the features, functions, compatibilities, and design capabilities.

That is exactly what we’ll do below for the MakerBot Replicator+.

Main Features of the MakerBot Replicator+

MakerBot Replicator + 3D Printer, with swappable...

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Whether you’re new to the 3D printing world or had the older MakerBot model, you’ll appreciate that the Replicator+ is 30% faster and has a 25% larger build volume than before.

Below are some other notable features of the MakerBot Replicator+.

Smart Extruder+

The Smart Extruder+ is a device within the Replicator+ that will notify you when your printer’s filament runs out.

It’ll stop whatever job it’s working on and let you know through the app or desktop that something needs replacing.

The Smart Extruder+ has a longer lifespan than its original design, and it doesn’t get clogged or jammed as often.

Despite its long lifespan, the inevitable moment will come when it’ll need replacing, but don’t worry—MakerBot designed the Smart Extruder+, so replacement is a breeze.

Over 160,000 hours went into testing the Smart Extruder+. Assuming you use MakerBot-approved material, you can expect reliable performance from your printer.

Cloud Enabled

After the initial excitement wears off of watching the item you designed take form, it’s unlikely you’ll want to hang around for hours on end until it’s ready. 

For this reason, MakerBot designed their MakerBot Mobile App, which allows you to control your printer whether you’re in your backyard or in another country.

Camera

Since you can be out and about while the Replicator+ works away for you, you’ll have peace of mind knowing that you can watch its progress at any time by using the on-board camera.

To use the camera, simply log into the app.

Should you notice any issues with the printing progress, there’s an option on the app where you can pause production.

LCD Display

Like any well-designed modern piece of equipment, the MakerBot Replicator+ comes with an LCD display and dial. 

When you’re with your printer, there’s no need to use your computer or phone to preview print files and view your object library—all of that is manageable from the display screen.

You can also use it to set up and maintain your printer.

Grip Surface

You know something is good when it involves the word “grip.”

Some 3D printers struggle with offering strong print adherents. As a result, prints may warp or curl shortly after production.

However, thanks to MakerBot’s Grip Surface technology, your Replicator+ will have a bendable Flex Build Plate.

That allows for more durable prints with results comparable to items you’d purchase from a factory.

Compatibility

The MakerBot Replicator+ is compatible with the following three devices:

  • Smart Extruder+
  • TOUGH Smart Extruder+
  • Experimental Extruder

Additionally, this printer supports Polylactic acid (PLA) and TOUGH materials.

PLA is an affordable, biodegradable plastic that originates from sugar in foods like corn, tapioca, and sugarcane.

It’s easy for people new to 3D printing to use and has breakaway supports that lead to faster printing.

TOUGH is a different variety of PLA with a sturdiness similar to ABS—except in MakerBot’s case, their TOUGH material has twice the strength of ABS.

As a result, TOUGH is a better material for printing larger designs and prototypes, including printing parts for self-driving cars.

It’s also less prone to warping than other 3D-printing materials.

Specifications

By now, you might be ready to purchase a 3D printer, but you might be wondering: will you need to dedicate half your living room to accommodate the MakerBot?

Thankfully, you won’t. Below are some size and weight details along with other specifications that likely matter to you.

Weight: 40.4 pounds

Dimensions: 20.8 x 17.4 x 16.2 inches

Build volume: 573 cubic inches

Material diameter: 0.069 inches

Ambient operating temperature: 60 – 90 degrees Fahrenheit 

Operating Systems: Windows 7 and 10; Mac OS X 10.9+

Supported file types: STL, OBJ

The MakerBot works with 100 – 240V, which encompasses the standard voltage in most countries.

It has fused-deposition-modeling-print technology and a camera resolution of 640 x 480.

You can feel confident knowing that your printer should last you many years since it has powder-coated steel reinforcement and aluminum casting for motion components. 

Whereas the MakerBot has a 30-degree Fahrenheit range of ideal operating temperature, it has a much larger range for the storage temperature—32 to 100 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Capabilities

The MakerBot Replicator+ has the capability to function using PLA, TOUGH, bronzefill, copperfill, and woodfill materials.

Materials with “fill” at the end of their name contain fine particles of either metal or wood.

Those particles combine with PLA plastic to offer you the option to make prints that look like solid metal or wood without the added weight.

As a Fused Deposition Modeling printer, you can use the Replicator+ with computer-aided design (CAD) files.

That said, you’ll need to convert your print files to .STL or .OBJ before sending them off to your printer. 

The Replicator+ uses both modeling material and support material to print your design.

It’ll use the material you give it and feed it through a nozzle. It’ll then melt and mold the material according to your design.

Large objects will take longer to print on the Replicator+ than smaller objects, although MakerBot’s recent endeavors include improving the printer’s speed time.

Since the Replicator+ comes factory leveled, you can start using your printer as soon as you receive it.

Additionally, the Flex Build Plate makes it easy to peel your prints off the printer.

Additional Features

We’ve already covered the main features of the MakerBot Replicator+, but below are a few more that make it stand out in the 3D printing world.

Flexible Connectivity

You can send files to your printer through WiFi, USB, and Ethernet.

Once the Replicator+ begins printing, you can control it using MakerBot Print on your computer or from the MakerBot Mobile App.

Full-Featured Software

MakerBot understands the importance of complete connectivity. Using a Cloud-enabled library, you can store and access all of your 3D files from any device. 

Furthermore, MakerBot Print offers the option to line up your prints, so you build one after the other or even simultaneously on other printers.

MakerBot Print is free software that comes with your printer. You can use it with Mac and Windows computers.

Access to MakerBot’s Support Team

Your Replicator+ comes with MakerCare, a coverage plan that connects you with experts who can support you with any questions or issues via phone, live chat, or email.

They guarantee a response time of six business hours after you reach out to them. 

You’ll need to register your Replicator+ with MakerCare upon receiving it, and you’ll be able to take advantage of the plan for three years.

Should you need to replace defective parts, MakerBot will overnight them for you.

Additionally, if your entire printer needs replacement, they’ll send you a new one before you ship back the broken one.

Setting Up the MakerBot Replicator+

People new to 3D printing will appreciate how easy it is to set up the Replicator+. In fact, their Quick Start Guide is only two pages long!

When you open your Replicator+ box, it’ll only contain four items—the Smart Extruder+, a PLA filament spool, a USB A-to-B cable, and a power cord.

After you pull your Replicator+ out of the box, you’ll need to remove the foam from under the plate.

Then, simply take the clips off the belt and rod, and lift the drawer. There, you can push the filament spool into place.

The final step is to thread the filament through the tube (which is much easier than trying to thread a needle).

Close up the drawer, and plug in the power cord. Then, download MakerBot’s app and connect your printer.

Voilà! Just like that, you’re ready to make your first print.

Safety

Like any electrical device, you shouldn’t let young children near the MakerBot Replicator+.

3D printers are notorious for generating high temperatures to mold material, so you should make sure the extruder cools before inserting your hand inside.

For safety reasons, you should only use the Replicator+ with materials approved by MakerBot.

Furthermore, those materials may produce an odor. Therefore, you should place your printer in a well-ventilated area.

Finally, don’t turn off your printer during or right after printing. The Smart Extruder+ needs to undergo its own cooling process before you shut off the machine.

Related Questions:

Now we’ll look at some common questions about the MakerBot Replicator+.

Is the MakerBot Replicator+ Good for Beginners?

The MakerBot Replicator+ is excellent for beginners because it doesn’t require a complicated setup.

The MakerBot software and LED screen are intuitive, offering a near learning-curve-free experience. 

Is the MakerBot Replicator+ Good for Large-Scale Projects?

The Replicator+ serves as a bridge between personal and professional 3D printing.

It isn’t the best printer on the market for large-scale projects, but at a build volume of 573 cubic inches, it builds considerably larger prints than other printers.

Can MakerBot Print Metal?

The MakerBot Replicator+ can print bronzefill and copperfill.

Both of these materials contain a combination of PLA bioplastic and finely ground bronze or copper respectively.

They offer the illusion of pure metal but aren’t as heavy and don’t conduct electricity. 

In Conclusion

The MakerBot Replicator+ is, without doubt, an amazing 3D printer made with quality materials and a ton of awesome features.

Customer support is extremely helpful, and MakerBot doesn’t let you down.

Simple setup. Convenient size. Smart Extruder+. Variety of compatible materials for prints.

Easy print removal. Cloud-enabled design. Intuitive, easy-to-learn software.

The list goes on and on, but what really matters is if it meets all of the criteria you were looking for in a 3D printer.

For most home users, the MakerBot Replicator+ definitely does!

Sources:

https://pubs.acs.org/doi/10.1021/acssuschemeng.6b00321

https://www.makerbot.com/3d-printers/materials/tough/

https://3qcbdntxdyb43ubh6h0b0qgz-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/img/replicator/rep+_quick_start_guide.pdf

Last update on 2021-07-30 at 23:28 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API