“We leveled up to bring you this today,” MakerBot CEO Bre Pettis told the crowd at the company’s press conference in Brooklyn this afternoon.
The startup responsible for bringing 3D printing to the mainstream–with a nudge from Stephen Colbert, of course–announced a breakthrough: the fourth-generation of MarkerBot’s 3D printing device, dubbed the Replicator 2. You’ll see it soon enough. The gleaming metal rectangle graces the cover of the October issue of Wired.
In the accompanying piece, Chris Anderson writes, “The Replicator 2 isn’t a kit; it doesn’t require a weekend of wrestling with software that makes Linux look easy. Instead, it’s driven by a simple desktop application, and it will allow you to turn CAD files into physical things as easily as printing a photo.”
Mr. Pettis opened the conference by comparing 3D printers before MakerBot to mainframe computers in that one only had access to them through “an elite institution,” or at least sneaking into said institution at night. Of course, startup types still in the ramen phase might balk at the $2,199 price tag, a slight increase from the older version, which costs $1,749. (We wish we could 3D print a time travel device to the year when it costs $21.99).
But in a press release, the company pintpointed its target demo. Replicator 2 is “designed for the desktop of an engineer, researcher, creative professional, or anyone who loves to make things.”
Brooklyn borough president Marty Markowitz offered his trademark booster accolades, describing the Replicator 2 as “filled with Brooklyn attitude, except these days it’s called Brooklyn swagger.” As he walked past Betabeat, we overheard him adding, “What did I say? It’s the future, huh?”
After the Replicator was revealed from under a black cloth, the Magical Mr. Pettis said, “We made it look good,” outlining the difference between the Replicator 2 and the higher-end Replicator 2X. If you want it to work right every time, you get the Replicator 2, the Honda of 3D printers. On the other hand, the 2X is for ”people who like to build hot rods from scratch.”
Here are the specs:
WHAT’S NEW WITH REPLICATOR 2 DESKTOP 3D PRINTER
- 100 Micron Layer Resolution — The 100-micron layer resolution setting on the MakerBot Replicator 2 Desktop 3D Printer means professional-looking prototypes and objects with less effort.
- More Build Volume — A build volume of 410 cubic inches (11.2″ L x 6.0″ W x 6.1″ H) gives the MakerBot Operator much more space than before to make multi-part projects and big models.
- Optimized for MakerBot PLA Filament — The MakerBot Replicator 2 Desktop 3D Printer is designed with the renewable bioplastic PLA in mind. PLA is the most popular build material in 3D printing because of its strength and ability to make very large prints without cracking or warping.
MAKERWARE: THE ALL NEW WAY TO DRIVE THE REPLICATOR 2
- Lightning fast preparation – MakerBot’s new slicing engine is up to 20 times faster than the previous technology. What’s more, the software is smarter and more efficient, which results in faster and more consistent models.
- Make more things at once – MakerBot MakerWare lets the MakerBot Replicator 2 Desktop 3D Printer make multiple models at one time. Combined with the huge 410 cubic inch build volume, it’s easier than ever to get more done, faster.
- Simple but powerful – MakerBot MakerWare makes it intuitive to move, rotate, and scale models. When it comes time to choose print settings, MakerBot MakerWare simplifies the process while still leaving the control in the user’s hands.
During the press conference, MakerBot also announced a store–stay tuned for a slideshow from Betabeat after we take the tour. Mr. Pettis called it “a place for you to see MakerBots in action and find the most unique gifts in the world.”