Faster Cheaper; More Precise

MakerBot Method Breaks Price-Performance Barriers, Making Industrial 3D Printing Features Accessible to Individual Designers and Engineers;

Enables Unlimited Design Freedom, Dimensionally Accurate Prints, and a High Degree of Reliability Previously only Available on Industrial Systems

MakerBot Method

MakerBot Method Launched December 11th 2018 is designed to change industry

For many years supplying SME’s with 3D Printing solutions in the UK I have heard familiar objections and excuses as to their readiness to invest in Additive Manufacture (AM):

“I don’t think we are ready to invest… let’s wait until the price is more affordable”

 FD Plastics Production Company

“if it were faster to print our designs, we would invest in 3D Printing today”

Head of Design, Engineering Solutions Company

“If prototypes and parts were more precise... we would invest without a doubt”

Head of Engineering, Manufacturing Company

Removing the Obstacles for Industry

Time and time again it has become a mantra. It is an obstacle to investment that smaller SME’s sit on the fence and avoid investment. Perversely, larger corporations invest in expensive devices and advance their organisational capabilities hundredfold in comparison to the smaller more agile company. Its inverse logic that these larger corporations, who just happen to have big bucks can move quicker to adopt newer technologies like AM. In doing so, they are able to iterate ideas, develop designs and get to market much much faster than smaller more seemingly agile organisations.

The answer is here

At one end of the market there are desktop 3D Printing Devices which are cheaper, but lack precision. These are sometimes relatively easy to set-up, but don’t produce the part or prototype consistency required in industry.

At the other end are precise machines in Industrial AM which are reliable, but out of reach of most SME budgetary restrictions. These require investment in the technology, a dedicated operator and have substantial on-costs in terms of consumables.

The Background

Way back in January 2014, MakerBot launched its Z18 3D Printer, a revolution then, it is still a market leader. With the Z18 today, engineers can 3D print parts, jigs, fixtures with 1.7x bigger build volume than the next largest competitor. With innovative design features like the Smart Extruder+, Designers can now 3D print in PLA or Tough™. Tough™ is 2x stronger than ABS and more elastic, enabling drilling, tapping, snap fits and living hinges. The Z18 3D Prints  with 1.2x faster print times than its competitors with little operational intervention. No levelling or tinkering, just BIG prints!

Then in September, 2016, MakerBot further positioned itself as a Professional device manufacturer by launching the Replicator+

This innovation: the new MakerBot Replicator+ was re-engineered and tested to provide improved performance—it delivered faster, easier, and more reliable printing with a bigger build volume than its predecessor.

Better Precision

The Replicator+ featured an improved gantry and Z-stage through stiffer materials and sturdier construction for consistent and predictable printing. MakerBots' new 3D printer went through extensive printer and subsystem testing of 380,000+ hours across multiple facilities over the course of development to help ensure reliable, high quality performance.

Better Manufacturing Processes

During this process, MakerBot worked closely with Stratasys to implement new, consistent procedures for enhanced print quality. MakerBot introduced product lifetime testing, and  validating test results. The new MakerBot Replicator+ was both faster and quieter than their predecessors. The Replicator+ featured larger build volumes for printing bigger models or more prints at one time. The MakerBot Replicator+ was approximately 30 percent faster than its predecessor, has a 25 percent larger build volume, and is 27 percent quieter than the previous device

It was at this time that MakerBot also launched the new material Tough™ which is a very reliable material companion for MakerBot machines.

New Software

Simultaneously in 2016, MakerBot also launched new control software called MakerBot Print.

MakerBot Print software launched at the same time as these new products helped streamline the 3D printing experience for any workflow. Native CAD Support, for example: allowing users to easily import common (25+) CAD files and assemblies. This new feature eliminated the need for STL files. This can result in significant time savings by reducing the number of files the user needs to manage and mundane steps for each iteration. Users could now even organize 3D files and multiple build plates into projects and easily email project files as attachments to collaborate with others.

What’s is New

MakerBot has launched a brand-new Industrial 3D Printer, aimed as those organisations wanting to invest, but awaiting the more precise, more affordable faster solutions to be released.

What MakerBot to have achieved in a very clever manoeuvre is to address the obstacles to entry at lower end of the market with those SME’s unable yet to adopt. MakerBot have achieved this whilst introducing a device which gives both the precise iteration and cost reduction which those organisations who have already embedded AM within their manufacturing process.

Brand New Design

MakerBot started from the drawing board to design a device which incorporates 15 Stratasys patents and 15 MakerBot patents to produce a machine which has Industrial capability in terms of precision, and also affordability in terms of its entry-level pricing.

MakerBot have invented a brand new 3D Printing platform which draws on all the agility and innovation of MakerBot and leverages from all of the industrial experience of Stratasys. They have created a new model to compliment their existing range which is aimed at all those companies who want to invest but who were waiting for something better.

Whats new

With the brand-new platform MakerBot have achieved a design which can Auto Load, Callibrate Automatically, and is easy to deploy and use. This addresses operator costs and gives an improved ROI, which is often overlooked as an on-cost except by the most diligent FD’s

Still able to handle native CAD files with the MakerBot Print software, integration of AM for any investor is easy.

The Rigidity of the new design improves precision, and with dual extrusion allows exact and geometrically challenging designs to be output simply, giving engineers what they need.

Speed has been addressed in the process and this new MakerBot is 2x faster, making iteration of designs even quicker, making designers time more effective.

At 1/3 the cost of other entry-level Industrial Additive Manufacturing devices, this machine pleases the FD even further.

The Core Features of MakerBot Method

MakerBot Method Exploded view

The core features of this device include:

Circulative Heated Chamber: A fully active heat immersion for the duration of the build. Even cooling of the part taking place after completion of the print, leads to better and more consistent precision.

Dual Performance Extruders

(1x model; 1x support) with Smart Sensors and material management. These newly designed extruders have greater torque with 19:1 dual drive and 3x more pull force than desktop standard. They feature a lengthened thermal core (3 times longer) which means more liquid 3d printing material and leads to a faster print.

Dry Sealed Material Bays with built-in sensors warn of humidity and temperature variations, which keeps 3D Printing materials in pristine condition, leading to more consistent output.

Ultra Rigid Frame prevents flexing and leads to more consistent accurate 3D Print output.

Spring Steel Build Plate which is durable and with a grip+ surface under which is a laboratory calibrated build surface. The surface is magnetised for easy removal from the device and faster removal of part or prototype. This means easier operation and a reduction in operation cost from more expensive industrial devices is a welcome feature

Operated and controlled with MakerBot Print, the device can is a welcome addition to users already utilising MakerBot devices, who are used to ease of operation and integration into the organisation.

The 5” Colour touch Screen is intuitive adds to the device ease access and operation.

Accessories and Materials

Launched with useful accessories like the Base Station (a welcome addition to offer a more stable surface for the device in operation maintaining vibration control) This Base Station will maintain precision output whilst also allowing for manoeuvrability and mobility of the machine, whilst also providing useful materials storage.

The new device comes with its own new materials: Precision PLA; Precision Tough™ and Precision PVA (support) which add to the consistency of precise builds.

The  MakerBot Method

All-in-all this new device from MakerBot will have a much lower Total Cost of Ownership (TCO)

These reductions in TCO arise from the holistic design of the machine. The affordable consumables’ costs make iteration cheaper. The reduction in maintenance cost and time compared to other industrial devices reduces outage. Reduced installation costs and time saves on implementation. Lower hardware costs and lower operational costs come with Method, as organisations don’t have to employ a specialised operator all combined with a lower acquisition cost.

Confident of these cost reductions, MakerBot have even launched an ROI calculator online in order that investors can see for themselves that it is the right time to invest.

So… calling all Designers, Engineers and Finance Managers… your prayers have been answered.

I was lucky enough to view the new MakerBot Method in Frankfurt in November and witness its precision.

I wholeheartedly recommend this new industrial 3D Printer for its Engineering precision for Professionals, its ease of use for Design and Iteration and its ROI for the Finance Director in adopting organisations.