MakerBot has announced it’s latest personal 3D printer at CES. The new device has been hinted at for some time now, but it was revealed publicly for the first time by Bre Pettis himself at CES.
The new device is optimized for printing ABS plastic, whereas its partner, the Replicator 2 (no “X”) was, and still is, optimized for printing PLA plastic, which Pettis correctly describes as “luscious”. ABS he describes as “fussy”.
Personal 3D printer owners are well aware of the difficulties in printing ABS: it warps as it cools, sometimes leading to embarrassing print disasters, particularly on large prints. Large scale commercial 3D printers such as Stratasys overcome this by enclosing the entire build operation in a heated chamber.
MakerBot hasn’t included a heated build chamber in their 2X, but instead they’ve put a sealed enclosure around the build operation. This permits the ABS to cool slowly and more evenly so that, as Pettis puts it, “reduces warping”. [UPDATE: For clarity, the Rep2X does in fact include a heated build platform, but not a heated chamber.]
The 2X includes two extruders, permitting prints in two colors. But where do you prepare the 3D model for two colors? That’s easy; Pettis also announced a new version of MakerWare, the software that sets up models for printing on MakerBot 3D printers. The new version is capable of handling multiple colors.
We’ll have more details on the 2X very soon.