MakerBot Replicator Plus 3D Printer Review: Very Reliable, High Quality
The MakerBot Replicator Plus 3D Printer is an upgraded and re-engineered model of the previous Replicator 5. This amazing printer is primarily designed for professional users, but it is so easy to use that it would be an excellent choice for first time buyers too.
What this means is that for professionals such as architects, designers and engineers, this 3D printer is easy to set up and use straight out of the box. It provides reliability for anyone who is more interested in the end products than the printing process itself.
The MakerBot Replicator Plus is also great for use in schools as it doesn’t require a lot of tinkering to get it to work perfectly every time. It’s also about 25% faster than its predecessor and a fair bit quieter too.
This printer would also be a good choice if you have never owned a 3D printer before. You will find it easy to set up and start printing almost immediately. It’s also a very neat looking unit.
Let’s look at some of the excellent new features found in this 3D printer.
|Print material||Auto Calibration||Maximum print size(inches)||Heating bed||layer thickness||Customer support||Assembly time||Warranty|
|Though PLA||Yes||11.6"x7.6"x6.5"||No||100 microns||Excellent||20 minutes||6 month warranty|
1. Re-designed Gantry and Z-axis Point.
The gantry and z-axis are made from stiffer materials than the previous model to provide reliability and precision printing. The gantry is nice and stable and the rails are metal for extra strength. Everything is neatly housed within the framework of the printer so it looks great and is better protected.
2. Flex Build Plate.
The build plate is removable and can flex. This means that removing larger prints is now super easy without the need for scrapers or putting painter’s tape on the plate. It also has a new Grip Surface to allow prints to adhere better and to prevent warping and curling. The build volume is also 25% larger than the previous model allowing prints of up to 11.6 inches x 7.6 inches x 6.5 inches.
3. Smart Extruder.
The Smart extruder provides ease of use and reliability. It snaps into place magnetically and you can easily remove it if necessary. It has automatic jam detection and lets you know if it’s out of filament. You can also get an additional Smart extruder designed especially to be used with the MakerBot Tough PLA filament.
4. Wifi Connectivity.
The MakerBot Replicator Plus easily connects to your WiFi and you can control it using a smartphone or desktop computer. The easy set up process guides you on how to pair your mobile phone to the printer and then in turn, connect the printer to your WiFi. It’s an easy step-by-step procedure which anyone can follow.
5. Filament Spool Cassette.
The filament spool resides inside the printer in a specially designed cassette. This means it’s incredibly easy to install. It also allows for smoother filament feeding and less chance of jams occurring.
6. Easy MakerBot Print Software.
The MakerBot print software and mobile app can import native CAD files of various formats, not just STL. It’s compatible with both Windows and MAC computers. With the software you can arrange the print jobs on successive build plates. This means you can print projects one after the other if you wish or on multiple printers. The software allows has direct links to the MakerBot and Thingiverse websites so you can import print files directly.
7. Auto Calibration And Leveling.
The MakerBot Replicator Plus auto calibrates and levels the print bed all within just a few minutes. It’s completely hands off calibration so your printer is easily set up and ready to use in about 30 minutes or less.
8. Onboard Camera.
This printer has an on board camera so that you can see the progress of your print job on your mobile phone or desktop. This is particularly useful if you’re out of the office or design studio and want to check on your print job. You can even pause the print job remotely if you think something doesn’t look quite right.
9. LCD Display And Intuitive Dial Control.
Using a simple, intuitive dial and the LCD display you can set up and maintain your printer very easily. You can even preview print files and easily access your print file library.
10. Optimized To Use MakerBot PLA Filament.
The new MakerBot Tough PLA filament will work extremely well in this 3D printer. MakerBot have engineered this filament to print all types of prototypes and fixtures which are tough and durable.
So What’s In The Box?
- The completely assembled MakerBot Replicator Plus 3D printer.
- The Smart Extruder.
- A power cable.
- A USB cable.
- A spool of PLA slate gray tough filament to get you started.
- A Quick Start Guide.
- A comprehensive user manual.
How Easy Is This 3D Printer To Set Up?
The MakerBot Replicator Plus comes entirely assembled from the manufacturer to you. There are only a few simple steps you need to take to get it ready for your first print job. This should take you no more than 30 minutes. Here’s a quick run down on what you need to do:
1.Take the printer out of the box and remove the foam packaging, the orange clips and the tape to hold the print bed in place.
2.Plug in the power cord and then plug it into your power socket.
3.Load the filament into the cassette and feed it through the feeder tube until it comes out the other end.
4.Turn on your printer and follow the prompts on the screen. This will instruct you to download the MakerBot Print app onto your smart phone and to pair your printer with your WiFi.
6.Clip in the smart extruder and feed in the filament.
7.Then follow the instructions to auto-calibrate the printer and level the print bed.
You’re now ready to do your first test print.
What Kind Of Support And Warranty Is Available For This Printer?
MakerBot offer extensive MakerCare Protection Plans to help you get the best support for your printing needs. When you purchase your printer, it comes with a 60 day free trial warranty and a 6 month replacement parts warranty.
Once you reach the end of the 60 days (or before if you wish) you can take out a Makercare Protection Plan. This is available for either 1,2 or 3 years. You can choose either the standard MakerCare Plan or the MakerCare Preferred Protection Plan. Here is a quick run down of the differences between the two.
1. MakerCare Standard Protection Plan.
This plan offers email response from MakerBot’s support people within 2 business days. It also includes telephone support Monday to Friday between 9 am to 8 pm as well as live chat on Monday to Friday between 9 am to 6 pm.
2. MakerCare Preferred Protection Plan.
This plan offers premium email support with a response on the same day before 4 pm. It also offers the same telephone and live chat support as the standard plan.
Both plans offer replacement of defective parts which MakerBot will ship free of charge. If for any reason your printer needs to go back to the factory for repair, MakerBot will arrange this for you after you contact support.
As well as the support team you also have access to easy instructions and troubleshooting on the MakerBot website. There are comprehensive instructions on how to get your print file ready to print as well explanations about filament, rafts and support structures. You’ll also find easy instructions on how to finish your print jobs including sanding and painting.
Plus if you’re located close to Brooklyn, you can even enroll in one of their full day classes. Learn from 3D printing experts all you will ever need to know about creating excellent print models with your MakerBot Replicator Plus. There are also online webinars with recordings that you can watch if you can’t personally attend a course.
There’s also a large user community which you can access on Thingiverse as well as some cool and useful print files.
What Is MakerBot Tough PLA Filament?
MakerBot Tough PLA filament is designed specifically for engineers and designers. It is a composite plastic which is great for durable and high impact strength prototypes and fixtures. Fixtures made with Tough PLA will withstand much greater pressure than normal PLA which means they will last longer.
MakerBot Tough PLA filament comes bundled with a special Smart Extruder which is designed to use with this filament. This extruder has a specially engineered drive system which consistently drives the filament into the extruder.
Can You Use Any Other Type Of Filament With The MakerBot Replicator Plus?
This 3D printer is designed to work specifically with PLA filament and the MakerBot Tough PLA. You cannot use other filaments such as ABS as this requires a heated print bed.
In saying this however, the MakerBot Replicator Plus handles PLA filament extremely well and for most professionals and schools, this is perfectly adequate. With the addition of the MakerBot Tough filament, you can make extremely durable fixtures, parts and prototypes which are just as tough as if you used ABS.
What Customers Are Saying?
We have read some very positive reviews about the MakerBot Replicator Plus especially from customers who had used previous versions of the MakerBot 3D printers. The majority of customers gave this printer 5 out of 5 stars.
Customers were impressed with the speed of the printer and the quality of their print jobs. They also liked the on board camera and the updated MakerBot Print software. One customer recommended the use of a good print removal tool in order to remove smaller prints from the print bed. This will preserve the surface of the print bed.
Many customers also commented on how easy this printer is to use, some even suggesting that this is the easiest to use 3D printer in its category. There were also positive comments about the WiFi capability of this printer and how convenient it is to be able to start a print job remotely when you’re not near the printer itself.
The MakerBot Replicator Plus 3D printer is an excellent choice for professionals such as designers, architects and engineers. It is also a great printer for first time users as it is extremely easy to set up and use straight out of the box.
It will produce high quality prints using PLA filament and the MakerBot Print software is super easy to use. The new Smart Extruder reduces the possibility of filament jams and the flexible build plate makes it easier to remove larger prints.
Coupled with excellent after market support and plenty of online tutorials and videos, this printer is sure to please anyone wanting high quality prints without the need for a lot of tinkering and the high learning curve associated with 3D printer kits.