MakerBot 3D Printers - a potted history

A Potted History of MakerBot 3D printers

We thought it would be good to trace the history of MakerBot 3D Printers with a potted history of the machines and the changing vision of the company.

Consumer 3D Printing

MakerBot CupCake a simple 3D Printer with a wooden frame

Way back in 3D printing Time the Cupcake CNC was introduced in April 2009 by MakerBot. Back then Bre Pettis and his co-directors had a vision of open source technology which would be owned by everybody. 10 years later, 3D printing is still new to many consumers, but embraced widely by industry as it is three times older than that and utilises many different technologies and materials in the 4th Industrial Revolution. Checkout How Old is 3D Printing on our blog.

Bre Pettis The former CEO had a particular mission for 3D printing

This  early Cupcake machine was replaced by the Thing-O-Matic in September 2010 with improved extrusion.

Thing O Matic An update to its predecessor with more reliable extruder

On June 19, 2013, Stratasys Incorporated acquired MakerBot.  The acquisition provided that MakerBot would operate as a distinct brand and subsidiary of Stratasys, serving the consumer and desktop market segments. When acquired, MakerBot had supplied  22000 printers.

Industrial  3D Printing

MakerBot was re-organised by Stratasys, and the emphasis became repeatable accuracy. The new owners steered the company more toward the Professional and Industrial  markets.

The Z18 3D Printer was released alongside the Replicator Mini Compact and 5th Generation Replicator in January 2014.

Z18 Massive Build Volume with Heated Chamber

The Z18 has a massive build volume and heated chamber allowing print of FDM materials PLA and Tough™. The Z18 is big. It allows Print of  BIG, functional prototypes in the massive 42,000 cm3 build volume. At launch it was 1.7x bigger build volume than the next largest competitor and 1.2x faster print times offering simple operation of an industrial level device. No leveling or tinkering, just BIG prints!

The Z18 offers the best price-to-performance ratio in the extra-large, professional 3D printer category.

MakerBot 5th Generation Replicator The 5th Generation was a move to simpler 3D print processing

Bre Pettis launched the Replicator 2The 5th Generation replaced the Replicator 2 , itself launched in September 2012 hot on the heels of its predecessor the Replicator.

MakerBot Replicator+ MakerBot Replicator+ 30% faster print time than the MakerBot Replicator Desktop 3D Printer (5th Generation) with 25% larger build volume

The Replicator had only been launched in January of that year.

The 5th Generation Replicator has subsequently been replaced by the Replicator+ in  September 2016.

Launched with new slicing software called MakerBot Print. This new machine smoothed workflow in the Industrial landscape as it could handle native CAD files.

Education 3D printing

MakerBot Mini Compact 3D printer MakerBot Mini Compact 3D printer

The MakerBot Mini Compact was replaced at the same time by the Mini+.

MakerBot Mini+ MakerBot Mini+

The MakerBot Mini+ was made obsolete early Spring 2019, leaving a gap in the market for a MakerBot Education machine.

METHOD — A MANUFACTURING WORKSTATION

MakerBot have introduced two new 3D Printers in the last 12 months 2018/19 with patented Stratasys Technology including circulated heated chambers allowing for print of true ABS and ASA materials ( unlike formulations which desktop 3d printers use). The Method platform prints in high precision and is MakerBots affirmation of its placement in the Industrial / professional Additive Manufacturing channel. Take a look at The Method Workstation

Method & Method X Method & Method X
MakerBot Method MakerBot Method with Stratasys patents

Method - printable materials PET-G; Tough™; PLA; Nylon (heated Chamber 60°C)

Method X  - printable materials ABS; ASA plus PET-G; Tough™; PLA; Nylon (heated Chamber 100°C)

 

The Future

Who knows what 2020 has in store for MakerBot?

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