MakerBot Releases Their 6th Generation Of 3D Printers

Just in time for the back to school and holiday season, Makerbot has released their latest line of printers. The latest additions to the lineup include the new Makerbot Replicator+ and the Makerbot Replicator Mini+.

The release of these new printers marks MakerBot’s first major product release since the disastrous introduction of the 5th generation of MakerBots in early 2014. The 5th generation of MakerBots included the Replicator Mini, priced at $1300, the Replicator, priced at $2500, and the Replicator Z18, priced at $6500. Comparing the build volume of these printers with the rest of the 3D printer market, these printers were overpriced. The capabilities of these printers didn’t move many units, either (for instance, the printers could only print in PLA). Makerbot was at least wise enough to continue building the 4th generation Replicator 2X, a printer that was capable of dual extrusion and printing more demanding filaments.

The release of the Makerbot Replicator+ and the Makerbot Replicator Mini+ is the sixth generation of MakerBot printers and the first generation of MakerBot’s manufactured overseas. This new generation is a hardware improvement on several fronts and included a complete redesign of the Makerbot Replicator and the Replicator Mini. The Replicator Mini+ features a 28% larger build volume than the original MakerBot Replicator Mini and an easily removable Grip Build Surface that can be flexed to remove a printed part. The Replicator+ features a 22% larger build volume than the MakerBot Replicator and a new Grip Build Surface. The Replicator Mini+ is $1000 ($300 cheaper than its predecessor), and the Replicator+ is $2000 ($500 less expensive). Both new printers, and the old Replicator Z18, now ship with the improved Smart Extruder+.

While the release of two new MakerBots does mean new hardware will make it into the wild, this is not the largest part of MakerBot’s latest press release. The big news is improved software. Makerbot Print is a slicer that allows Windows users to directly import 3D design files from SolidWorks, IGES, and STEP file formats. Only .STL files may be imported into the OS X version of the Makerbot Print software. MakerBot Mobile, an app available through the Apple Store and Google Play, allows users to monitor their printer from a smartphone.

Earlier this year, we wrote the Makerbot Obituary. From the heady days of The Colbert Report and an era where 3D printing would solve everything, MakerBot has fallen a long way. In the first four months of 2016, MakerBot only sold an average of about fifteen per day, well below the production estimated from the serial numbers of the first and second generation Makerbots, the Cupcake and Thing-O-Matic.

While this latest hardware release is improving the MakerBot brand by making the machines more affordable and giving the software some features which aren’t in the usual Open Source slicers, it remains to be seen if these efforts are enough. Time, or more specifically, the Stratasys financial reports, will tell.

50 thoughts on “MakerBot Releases Their 6th Generation Of 3D Printers

    1. I don’t. Screw you Makerbot. Screw you Stratasys and your $500,000,000.00 goodwill loss for buying this junk to attempt to get ahead on the consumer market and then even then somehow manage to further screw it up.

  1. They are putting too much effort into their Windows slicer. It’s confusing who they are trying to market to. I think a better fit would be a slicer for SCO Unix or maybe Caldera Linux. They could even go for Dr DOS to get real time support!

      1. Denied. Your suggestion is based on an assumption that the 80% market share of ‘Windows*’ is distributed evenly across the technological market. That’s a false assumption. Pretty sure that MakerBot isn’t marketing their printers to corporate offices full of desk workers, or my parents with the cheap computerworld laptops. They’re marketing to hackers and creatives who run much more (but no, not only) run Linux and Mac.

        I’d say among the Makerbot market, Windows is more likely to be 50-60%. Not really enough to justify the bias in development effort, especially considering EVERYTHING ELSE uses common standards like POSIX and readily-convertible rendering widgets.

        1. If there’s any one brand of 3D printer that is likely to attract Windows users, it’s MakerBot. Further, even at 50% market share (which is going to need some backing up), it still represents an even half of the market that can be covered with a single, compatible binary that will execute without modification or releasing source (remember, this is MakerBot). Adding support for not-Windows would be a huge undertaking (depending on the code), particularly without being able to rely on the end user being able to compile from source. I’d make a jab here that open source would solve nearly all of these problems, but once again, Makerbot.

          I use Linux and I use Windows (and I own a MacBook Air that doesn’t see much activity), and I think they all have their upsides. Still, ignoring the reality of the world around you because you have a certain OS sitting in front of you is foolish.

          1. You are thinking in terms of hard binaries. You can use various cross platform technologies to build platform independent code… For example a WAR that will drop in to any J2ee server … letting people put your slicer on a BBB or a PI…. does that sound like the target community …

        2. Did you just suggest that makers use Macs.

          I’ve worked in a few engineering environments, 100% windows. In fact, I haven’t seen a single linux or mac system… anywhere in any engineering office I’ve worked in. I’m not remotely suggesting that my experiences are indicative of the wider world, but suggesting makers use macs over windows shows that your view is heavily biased towards something else.

          So, denied right back at you.

        3. I’m totally making this up off the cuff here (I know, I know… it’s hackaday, get over it), but… I’m not sure they did all that much extra development for Windows. It would be interesting to see if they natively read SolidWorks files or if they require SolidWorks to be installed so they can use COM Automation (formerly “ActiveX”) so they can just launch SolidWorks (possibly it has a windowless mode, like Excel?), tell it to load a SolidWorks file, and save it in STL. If that experiment proved fruitful, then it might be interesting to see if they used SolidWorks vs. the SolidWorks Viewer, which would perhaps solve some licensing problems.

          Which all suggests that a very modest-sized Kickstarter could put SolidWorks on an Azure cloud instance and run a community-funded automatic translator service… just sayin’.

          Anyway, this is all pure conjecture. I could be so far off base it’s comic.

        4. Doesn’t matter what your preferred OS, personality, job title, or anything else. What you are saying, despite your wants and needs (and stereotypes), has no basis in reality.

          There is very little (and even less good) cad software for Mac, and Linux pretty much has only Freecad, which is still in beta. You can’t count on both hands the Windows cad programs out there. The programs to run the CNC mills and 3d printers is in a similar state, as are sculpting/3d graphics design programs and electrical engineering. Basically if you want to engineer things, you WILL probably be using Windows whether you like it or not.

          Stop perpetuating the stereotype of Mac as being the “creative” computer, that’s an old stereotype that isn’t necessarily true anymore, if it ever was. Mac was marketed as counter-culture, which while that includes creative types, it also attracts a lot of hipsters and teenagers wanting to rebel, most of which will tell you they are unique and creative snowflakes who suffer for their art, which you wouldn’t understand.

          By the way, those of us creative/engineering types who are carrying Macbooks, aren’t necessarily using Mac Os. A great many of us are using Linux on them (a growing number), and have Windows on it for CAD purposes. When I first got my Mac I stripped Mac off it entirely and just dual booted Linux and Windows.

          1. It’s not SOlidworks, but CATIA is fairly good and is available on Linux, unless the definition of available is shifting to only FOSS. It’s mostly aimed at SUSE and compatible ones, but it is an option.
            It’s also an option I don’t see that often, solidworks is in much more places that I see given the lower cost of it.

  2. “…the first generation of MakerBot’s manufactured overseas. This new generation is a hardware improvement on several fronts”
    translation: Makerbot became so badly designed that even the Chinese copycat machine improved on it instantly.

    While the rest of the 3D printer world continues to build, grow and improve.
    Oh yea… Death to Makerbot!

    “Now constructed with even better EZ-Break technology” <– That's a classic. Love it!

  3. There will never be an ABS Makerbot again, if you want ABS you get to go to the Strasys Dimension printers with their disposable print surfaces, disposable cartridges, and “”super awesomely reliable”” Strasys software.

      1. What kind of an argument is that? There are professional users in their target group who need to use ABS or exotic materials. And if they really care about the fumes, why not design a filter system to reduce the emissions?
        I guess that they just couldn’t get ABS to print reliably and then simply ceased to support it.

  4. Let’m burn.

    * Attacking the open source community that made them successful.
    * —– IP Theft. —– This one is insane.
    * Their deliberate deceptions and misdirections for ‘stock value’ reasons after acquisition.

    We don’t need no water…

  5. Your price information is off. The currently listed prices are only sale prices for early adopters, afaik valid until october 31st. after that, the Replicator+ is going back up to 2500$ and it’s smaller Mini+ back to 1300$.
    On top of that, the extruder needed for using that “tough PLA” is going to add another 380$.
    This reply has been fed with information from 3ders.org.
    From my personal perspective, it’s now even more overpriced than the old model already was. And i have my doubts if it’s really more reliable, or if they just used these supposed 100’000s of hours of testing just to make shure that the planned obsolescence failure points actually just fail after the warranty-period is over, and not way before like in the last model, remains to be seen…

  6. The funny part is that the used market does not refflect all the hate makerbot gets. Want a 5th gen cheap? Does not exist, people want nearly 2K for them, as low as 1.2K. With that said, I have no love for the corporate politics or the bad engineering these guys have put out. With that said, allot of other “Halo” companies that may or may not have fruit on their logo did the same years back and continue to do so. Electronics manufacturers are getting increasingly good at planing obsolescence just out of the warranty period, just like auto manufacturers got good at it in the late 90’s.

  7. So, why would i buy any of their printers, considerign that they include the “smart extruder”?

    Furthermore, the prusa I3 MK2 is out now, FULL open source, open hardware, and includes more functionnalities, with a stellar print quality, for 700$ in kit, or 900$ assembled.
    Why WOULD I WANT A MAKERBOT instead?

    (to be honest i don’t see why i would want X printer instead of the new I3, barring a few exceptions such as the big box for it’s larger prit volume, although 25*21*21cm is plenty for me with the I3, but conidering that makerbot make some of the worst printers out there, it’s even more puzzling why they expect anyone to want their stuff….)

    1. 100% agree.

      The new Prusa I3 MK2 is doing extremely well in the reviews. I don’t have a Prusa, have two printers already, but going by the reviews I have seen, I would recommend it to any one who wants to get into 3D printer.

      Prusa doing it right. :)

  8. Did anyone look up on the replicator mini + specs?
    print volume is 10*12.6*12.6 CM!!!!
    when i first read, i undertood it as INCHES, and thought that it was acceptable, for the price…

    So for 2 grands, you have a TINY 4*5*5 inches print volume, PLA only, no heated bed, closed system, and as another malus, the smart extruder, every upgrade costs 200$, if any available, and it’s a makerbot….

    ARE THEY INSANE?

    Considering those specs, i can buy something better for 100$!!! (well 4*4*4 inches print volume, but 1/20th of the price…)
    And SOOO many various models between 200 and 300$….

    Let’s compare it to the king of the hill, the prusa I3 MK2 :
    *E3Dv6 for the I3, clear win;
    *the I3 DOES NOT INCLUDE the smart extruder, and this is a great advantage for the I3;
    *25*21*21cm for the I3 against 10*12.6*12.6, again the I3 CRUSHES the replicator mini+;
    *multi area heated bed that keeps the temperature uniform for the I3 : this is a complete no-match
    *I3 prints PLA, ABS, polycarbonate, carbon infused stuff, nylons,ninjaflex, well anything on the market except PEEK (but no printers prints PEEK reliably anyway ^^), versus JUST PLA for the makerbot? Are you even trying, makerbot?
    *Advanced auto bed leveling for the I3, with mesh leveling, versus “Factory Leveled” for the replicator? does it mean that if it goes wrong it won’t handle itself? Common makerbot. A basic Z probe isn’t that expensive or complex….
    *0.05mm layer height on the prussa, vs 0.1 on the replicator, again, another win;
    *both can print from CAD software directly, so it’s a tie
    *any slicer VS makerbot ecosystem only, that’s up to anyone, but i’d go the open route, and use whatever i want…
    *replacement parts : Almost anything o the prussa is easy to find, except for the new advanced heatbed PCB and the Z probe, but give it time, since it’s open… Makerbots don’t have the best record for replacement parts. And that’s not including the cost of parts…
    *can i mod it? Well, one is completely open, a reprap, and the other is a replicator… so both extremes of the questions… i don’t see anything redeeming here for makerbot …
    *Cost : 700$ as a kit, 900$ assembled for the prussa, 2000$ for the makerbot (and it seems to be a launching promotion)? What THE HELL makerbot? Do you even want to sell one?
    *Z calibration, but also X and Y calibration for the prussa… Of coure the replicator doesn’t do that, since no other printer than the prussa does it yet…
    *The replicator includes a camera (however, it’s 640*480…) and network, wifi, whereas the I3 doesn’t. However, considering that it’s about 1100 to 1300$ cheaper, i’d say that you can buy a raspberry pi 3, a camera module, LEDs and have a nice octoprint network system, with full HD video and 8mpixels stills for high res timelapses… By the way octoprint won’t work with the replicator, since no linux support…
    *print speed : i didn’t compare since i didn’t find specs for the replicator. But anyhow, if you care about speed, buy 2 prussa for cheaper, or even 3 kits for 100$ and print multiple at the same time…
    *Reliability : it’s a prussa. It works. When a problem occurs, it’s often already documented, and you can fix it. As for the replicator, well, it’s a makerbot. So, one works, and the other one is makerbot… And good luck repairing anything yourself. And considering that NO ONE buys makerbots anymore, good luck finding help…
    *Future proofness : well, one is a reprap. If josef prussa was to be abducted by aliens that have poor quality 3D printers, the doc would still be online. And other people would certainly take over. On the other had, there is makerbot. Well, everything is closed, no one makes after market parts, it’s compatible with nothing else than printrbot stuff, and, it seems, even have compatibility issues with makerbot stuff. Since no one buys those things anymore, it’s unlikely to find other companies making aftermarket parts. And let’s be honest : everyone expects Makerbot to disapear soon. Not that we want their employees to lose their job, but considering what makerbot does, how could we expect that they survive any longer? Sure there is stratasys with deep pockets. But do they want to maintain their puppy alive forever?

    I have a hard time thinking of any non garbage printer on the market that provides LESS value for the user, at almost any price point….

    1. Easy. Cube Pro Trio.
      I am familiar with the ropey quality and excessive cost of the Replicators but Stratasys’ friends from the industrial printer club 3D Systems have to take the biscuit on the least value for money award.
      I have lots of experience with Up!s and a lot of friends with Ultimakers and others, but I was seduced by the 3 extruded design and the promise of soluble support.
      I bought a Pro Trio and over the following 8 months they sent a replacement and sent a technician to help and I didn’t manage to print a single print at any point (and neither did their haggered support guy who was pretty negative about the chances of success).
      So perhaps I was unlucky… Although I went to the TCT print show last year where there were several Cube Pros and not a single print without some defect. £3k and outperformed by every £100 printer there.
      I wonder if the former big boys are trying to increase the perception of unreliability of consumer printers to hang on to sales of their £10-20k FDM machines. Maybe that’s just tinfoil hat thinking but they pile on reasons to believe it!

  9. Do Makerbot use trapezoidal leadscrews on their printers or sh1ty threaded rod?
    I would expect ball screws at the price

    Overpriced,unremarkable features & hardware in a fancy shell, reminds me of another manufacturer!

  10. Don’t buy anything from Makerbot…there are so many better-valued options out there.

    FYI — 5th Gen was super-rushed out the door when it was only a prototype, forced out the door by Senior (VP and higher) personnel for the #1 and only goal of getting a fat quarterly bonus due to the buy-out, and a promise of prolonging their eventual firing and replacement by SSYS execs. The great people who designed and worked on 5th Gen SW and HW did not want the printers to go out to launch until they were ready, they desperately wanted more time to finish what they started and be proud of the end result. Don’t blame them. Opening their mouths to fight for what was right for the consumer and the 3D printing industry ALWAYS ended in termination or no chance of promotion for that employee – many examples were made in this regard. Most of us just quit instead…

    6th Gen is much better, but way too pricey for what you get. If you are on this site…then you probably know how to build stuff, (or even better — know how to break stuff and then rebuild it). Get a DIY kit and make something awesome.

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