There’s been many add-ons and upgrades available for MakerBot 3D printers, but the latest addition, the MakerBot Automated Build Platform is special. It’s an amazing addition to an already amazing device that replaces the troublesome default orange acrylic build platform and provides two key capabilities: a heated platform and an automated object removal mechanism.
That’s right, your printed objects can be removed from the machine unattended, thus setting it up for printing a second object – with no human intervention required. The associated software has also been upgraded to permit the printing of multiple copies of an object or a sequence of different objects. Basically you can queue up a ton of prints and let your printer run continuously, much like you might do for a common 2D paper printer.
The heated platform was pretty much a requirement for default MakerBots, where printer operators discovered that the “cold” acrylic platform had issues with adhesion (too much or too little) and warping as the lower layers cooled faster than the hotter, freshly extruded layers on the top. The new automated platform includes a heated platform, ensuring that objects will be unwrapped and stick appropriately, but also that they do not require printed rafts to sit upon. The removal of raft requirements means greatly simplified object finishing, and a lot smoother bottom surfaces, too.
What are the implications of the automated build platform? Because it permits multiple prints, we suspect it may trigger the emergence of various kinds of microbusinesses using the MakerBot to create a variety of objects for specific situations. No longer requiring continuous operator physical presence, the operator can focus on business operations. We might see printed unique handicrafts, or simple replacement parts. Garage sales will never be the same.
Kerry Stevenson, aka "General Fabb" has written over 8,000 stories on 3D printing at Fabbaloo since he launched the venture in 2007, with an intention to promote and grow the incredible technology of 3D printing across the world. So far, it seems to be working!
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