In September of last year, MakerBot announced the MakerBot Replicator 2. It was a significant leap in performance over the original Replicator at a price that would appeal to hobbyists and industry professionals. Now MakerBot is back with a new 3D printer for the more adventurous among us.
MakerBot announced the MakerBot Replicator 2X at CES 2013. The new 3D printer is an extension of the Replicator 2, but has been optimized to print with ABS Filament. The company says the Replicator 2X is for those “ready to explore the frontiers of 3D printing.”
“If you are a MacGyver, a Doc Brown, or have a little mad scientist in you, and want to experiment with one of the fullest featured desktop 3D printers and see where it can take you, the MakerBot Replicator 2X Experimental Desktop 3D Printer is for you,” noted Bre Pettis, CEO of MakerBot. “The MakerBot Replicator 2 Desktop 3D Printer that we introduced this past September, is probably going to be one of the most successful 3D desktop printers of 2013, and we love its ease of use and reliability. The MakerBot Replicator 2 was optimized for PLA Filament, which has been proven to be a consistent-use filament. But there are many ABS Filament fans out there that want to keep using ABS, even though it can be a trickier and more challenging product to use. With the introduction of the MakerBot Replicator 2X Experimental Desktop 3D Printer, we can meet the needs of all types of desktop 3D printer users.”
MakerBot stresses that the 2X is highly experimental thanks to its dual extrusion output and focus on printing in ABS Filament. You can see the dual extrusion output in action in the below demo that features the Replicator 2X creating a multi-colored traffic cone:
Of course, you may be wondering if you can use PLA instead of the ABS in the Replicator 2X. MakerBot addresses that very question in a YouTube comment on its announcement video:
The extruder does not offer active cooling which is one of things that optimized the MakerBot Replicator 2 for PLA, but with painters tape you should still be able to use PLA on the MakerBot Replicator 2X.
The Replicator 2X, as expected, will be a bit more expensive than its little brother. You’ll be able to purchase MakerBot’s newest 3D printer for $2,799 in March. MakerBot’s alternative to enterprise solutions is comparably affordable, but it may still be out of most hobbyist’s price range. For those customers, keep an eye on Kickstarter as cheap 3D printers have flooded the crowdsourcing platform in recent months.