MakerBot Replicator Mini Plus 3D Printer Review: Reliable, High Quality
The new MakerBot Replicator Mini+ 3D printer is an updated version of the original MakerBot Replicator Mini. The Mini Plus has some really good enhancements that we’re sure you’re going to appreciate. This 3D printer offers easy and affordable one touch printing for those people who don’t want the hassle of having to build a 3D printer from a kit.
It comes pre-assembled straight out of the box and is very quick and easy to set up to get you printing your first project fast. It’s the perfect printer for designers, architects and 3D printing students and is widely used in schools to teach 3D printing and designing.
|Print material||Auto Calibration||Maximum print size(inches)||Heating bed||layer thickness||Customer support||Assembly time||Warranty|
|MakerBot PLA||Yes||4"x5"x5"||No||100 microns||Excellent||10 Minutes||6 Months|
So let’s look at some of the cool features of this compact 3D printer.
Compact 3D Printer
The MakerBot Replicator Mini+ is a truly compact 3D printer measuring only 11.6 inches by 15 inches x 13.7 inches so it’s right at home in an office or even on your computer desk at home. Because of its small footprint, it’s also ideal to use in classrooms as it doesn’t take up a lot of space and looks quite neat and tidy.
Updated Smart Extruder Plus
This printer comes with the new Smart Extruder Plus. This is exactly the same as the one used in the larger size MakerBot Replicator printers. This extruder features auto calibration and has automatic jam detection which causes the printer to pause if a filament jam occurs.
A very useful function of this 3D printer is that it has a filament detection sensor and will pause automatically if you run out of filament during a print job. This is especially handy if you’re running a large print job and you’re going to be away from your printer for any length of time.
There’s a camera right inside the printer which allows you to monitor your print jobs remotely . This also allows you to share images of your printer working on Thingiverse and social networks.
Automatic Build Plate Levelling
There are 3 sensors on the build plate which allows the printer to level the build plate automatically for you so you don’t have to do it manually. This saves lots of time and frustration and ensures that your print bed is always perfectly level.
Removable Build Plate
When your print job has finished you can just slide the built plate out to easily remove your printed object. The MakerBot Replicator Mini+ build plate now has a new grip surface which allows prints to adhere better to avoid warping and curling. This completely eliminates the need to use blue tape on the build plate.
The build volume on this model of printer has now increased to 4 inches x 5 inches x 5 inches allowing you to printer larger models than you could before with its predecessor.
Improved Print Speed
The new MakerBot Mini+ has a faster print speed due to the redesigned z-stage and refined gantry which makes the printer much sturdier with less vibration. This is a Cartesian printer, meaning that the print bed only moves up and down which further helps to increase the quality of your prints.
Easy Wifi Connectivity
The MakerBot Mini+ is easy to connect to your Wifi which allows for cordless printing and complete remote control. Wifi setup is easy using the MakerBot Print Desktop app with the all-new guided wireless setup.
The MakerBot Mobile app is also available which allows you to easily control the printer from your smart phone.
MakerBot Print Software
The MakerBot Print software is super easy to use and allows you manage your prints with complete ease. It’s free to download and is compatible with both Mac and Windows operating systems.
The software will even allow you to import CAD files which eliminates the need to convert these files to an STL format. This greatly reduces the possibility of conversion errors.
With this software you can easily preview your print jobs so you can adjust any settings that may need adjusting. The rafts that the printer will print first help secure the print job to the build plate. These are very easy to remove from the finished models leaving behind a smooth and clean print surface.
Extensive MakerBot Support
MakerBot support is staffed by 3D printing experts who know everything about your MakerBot Replicator Mini Plus so you can be assured that there’s always help available when you need it.
There’s also plenty of troubleshooting advice and in depth product information available on the MakerBot website.
MakerBot Digital Store
The MakerBot Digital store has lots of fun and educational models that you can make and the MakerBot Print software connects directly to Thingiverse which means that you’ll never be short of amazing models and projects that you can print.
What’s In The Box?
The MakerBot Replicator Mini Plus comes fully assembled so there aren’t many parts in the box when you receive it. This is a huge benefit to those who just want to produce quality prints instead of spending time setting up or even building a 3D printer.
Here’s what’s in the box:
- The pre-assembled MakerBot Mini Plus 3D printer
- The Smart Extruder Plus
- The filament tube to assist with feeding the filament into the extruder
- A sample roll of PLA filament
- The build plate with the new grip surface
- A power cord and a USB cable for connecting to your computer to enable the wifi setup
- The Easy Start Guide and User manual
How Easy Is This Printer To Set Up?
The MakerBot Replicator Mini Plus is ridiculously easy to set up and will have you starting your first print job within minutes. Here’s a quick guide on what you need to do:
- Install the MakerBot App onto your smart phone and follow the easy set up instructions
- Take the printer out of the box and remove all the packaging material including any tape
- Take the tape off the extruder and clip it into place on the printer. It will attach automatically with magnets
- Insert the filament guide tube and load the filament. If you’re using the Makerbot filament, the roll will fit into a cassette in the back of the printer.
- Push the build plate into place until it clicks in
- Download the MakerBot Print software and prepare your first print file
- Once your print file is ready, you can start your first print job.
Does The Smart Extruder Need Calibrating?
The Smart Extruder Plus comes already calibrated straight from the factory but sometimes you may need to make a small adjustment. But don’t worry, you will only need to do this once.
When you run your first print job watch the first layer carefully. If the extruder nozzle scrapes along the build plate then the extruder is too close to the plate. If, on the other hand, the plastic filament coming out of the extruder doesn’t stick to the build plate, then the extruder is too far away from the plate.
This is easily fixed by recalibrating or adjusting the Z-axis offset. You can do this easily by using the MakerBot Print software. Here’s some quick instructions on how to do this:
Click on Utilities and then Calibration
Next select the Z-axis offset and adjust this by only 0.10mm at a time to either move the extruder closer or farther away from the build plate
Check whether the extruder is now the correct distance from the build plate. If not, just repeat this step until the calibration is perfect.
You can also do this on your smart phone using the MakerBot Mobile app
Tips For Preventing Extruder Clogs
Here are some simple tips to prevent the Smart Extruder Plus from clogging up and to extend its life:
- Allow the extruder to cool down to 50 degrees Celsius before detaching it or turning off your printer
- Make sure that the extruder has finished unloading the filament before pulling it out
- Make sure you keep the filament tightly wound on the spool especially when you’re changing the filament
- Always allow a little filament to extrude after you’ve changed it. This will clear any residue and partial blockages
- Make sure you place your printer in a cool and dry environment as heat and humidity may cause the extruder nozzle to clog
- Keep your software and firmware up to date at all times to ensure the smooth running of your printer
What Do You Do If You Get A False Error Message?
If you get a persistent false error message on your printer or the control panel is not working correctly, it helps to power cycle your printer which effectively resets it. You also need to do this after you’ve updated the firmware. Here’s some quick and easy instructions on how to do this:
- Wait until the Smart extruder has cooled down to at least 50 degrees Celsius and then turn off your printer
- Wait for around 30 seconds before turning your printer back on
How Do You Load And Unload The Filament?
You can easily load and unload the filament by using the mobile app on your smart phone. This even allows you to change the filament during a print job by pausing the printer. Before loading a new spool of filament. It’s a good idea to cut the end so that you have a clean edge. This allows easier inserting of the filament into the extruder.
What Customers Are Saying
After reading many reviews about the MakerBot Replicator Mini Plus, we discovered that this printer is certainly well received both by designers and engineers as well as educators and 3D printing enthusiasts.
Everyone said that the printer is very easy to set and they loved the simplicity of the MakerBot Print software. There were also a couple of comparisons to the original MakerBot Mini and most people agreed that this latest version was much improved and that it ran much quieter than its predecessor.
We especially noted quite a few reviews from designers and other professionals who use this printer to produce prototypes and their review of the MakerBot Replicator Mini Plus was very positive particularly relating to the ease of use and the quality of the finished prints.
The MakerBot Replicator Mini Plus is an excellent plug and play 3D printer for both professionals and 3D printing hobbyists. It’s also particularly useful for the classroom as it is super easy to set up and requires very little ongoing maintenance.
If you just want a printer that will print your models and prototypes without having to mess with difficult and frustrating assembly, then this printer would be an ideal investment for you.