This is interesting: MakerBot has slashed the pricing on their previous model, the Fifth Gen.
The Fifth Gen Replicator from MakerBot has had a troubled history, being the device that was under development when the company changed hands from its founders to Stratasys.
It was the machine that introduced MakerBot’s Smart Extruder concept, announced in early 2014 by then-CEO Bre Pettis on a flashy stage in Las Vegas.
The idea made some sense: an extruder that had some intelligence. That intelligence could perhaps solve many of the problems that were plaguing the rudimentary desktop 3D printers of the day, including the dreaded “out of filament” problem that was often not discovered until the next morning.
However, after the Replicator 5th Gen was launched, a series of problems were reported by buyers and the new management of MakerBot set upon identifying and fixing the issue - along with fixing the rest of MakerBot, too.
The technical problems were sufficiently serious that some shareholders even launched a class action suit against Stratasys.
But MakerBot and Stratasys engineers went to work on the problem and, as far as I can tell, fixed the problems. They replaced the problematic Smart Extruder with the newer and more reliable Smart Extruder+, which I’ve actually been using for some time now and have had no issues.
Meanwhile, the MakerBot came out with their new Replicator+, which is still the company’s flagship 3D printer. This is a pretty good machine for 3D printing parts within a workgroup, although MakerBot’s reputation within the DIY crowd has suffered due to the Smart Extruder experience.
During all this time MakerBot continued to sell the older Replicator 5th Gen machine, at a cost exceeding USD$2,000.
However, now we see they’ve marked the machine down very significantly. On Amazon today it is priced at only USD$1,212, about half price! This significant discount could mean a couple of things:
- They are getting near the bottom of their remaining inventory of Replicator 5th Gen machines and wish to clean them out
- They have been forced to lower the price of the machine to compete with alternative suppliers.
- They’re about to announce a new machine that will push the current Replicator+ to a secondary position and they don’t want two secondary machines.
Or it could be all of the above.
In any case, if you wanted to pick up a very inexpensive Replicator 5th gen, you can get them at Amazon.