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MakerBot Replicator Mini Review

Makerbot-Replicator-Mini

The MakerBot Replicator Mini is another in a long line of 3D printers designed by MakerBot. This 3D printer is one of the smaller models available, weighing in at 18 pounds. The machine allows for the creation of hundreds of different images into actual 3D objects, useful for a myriad of different applications. The following provides an in-depth review of the MakerBot Replicator Mini, including the pros and cons of the machine.

Features and Specifications

There are a wide range of features that come included with the MakerBot Replicator Mini. One of of these is an on-board camera that will automatically snap pictures of your final print in order to upload it to storage on the cloud, meaning that they can never accidentally be erased. The camera can also be utilized for printing and sharing. This 3D printer comes with free software available to download immediately upon purchase. The software was created specifically by MakerBot, allowing for the storage of all pictures taken with the on-board camera, as well as providing users with the ability to control the 3D printer from anywhere by utilizing the MakerBot app.

The machine has the capability to work with .makerbot, .obj, .thing and .stl file types and can work on most Windows, MAC and Linux systems. As this is a Mini 3D printer, it only works with small spools of MakerBot PLA filament. The extruder placed within the Replicator is “Smart” and will automatically detect whenever your filament has run out and will pause the printing process until it’s filled again. The layer resolution for the system is set to 200 microns.

Pros

As with any 3D printer, there are a plethora of positives, as well as a few cons, for the MakerBot Replicator, including:

  • Comes with a free spool of clear PLA filament
  • Is easy to transport anywhere and move around whenever needed, at a weight of only 18 pounds
  • The on-board camera that comes equipped on the Replicator makes saving, printing and sharing your design files an exceedingly simple process. Another advantage of this camera is that it automatically uploads your files to the cloud, which is highly beneficial
  • Assembly of the machine is extremely easy to put together, with no tools required. In fact, there are only about four separate pieces that need to be connected in order for the printer to begin working correctly
  • Very easy to use and a great entry-level printer for those just getting started in 3D printing
  • Is very reliable once your print is set, ensuring that you never waste any filament

Cons

While there are many positives with the MakerBot Replicator, there are a variety of negatives that you should keep in mind as well, including:

  • A bit more expensive than it probably should be, especially in comparison to other 3D printers with similar feature-sets
  • Customer support can be pretty difficult to get a hold of
  • The build plate for the Replicator is a mere 4″x4″x5″, though this should be somewhat expected due to the Mini aspect of the printer
  • The software is quite buggy for the most part. In fact, the software had difficulties recognizing the printer at first, which took some further tinkering until it registered correctly.

Overall Verdict

In essence, the MakerBot Replicator Mini is a pretty good 3D printer, particularly for those that are just starting with 3D printing. While it may not be the perfect choice for those that happen to be on a budget, the assembly is easy to finish without further help and the actual printing is extremely reliable. As such, for the most part, the positives outweigh the few negatives and help make this a 3D printer that is easy to recommend.

Overall Rating22222

8 Comments

  1. This printer really fails to deliver on its promises. I bought this unit to use for freelance work on the side and cannot even use the parts it prints correctly due to it leaving little strands of filament all over any detailed areas. At the relatively high price there are much better options available.
    One thing Makerbot does excel at is marketing. So before you buy in, consider the following.
    -the customer support might as well not exist. It will literally take weeks to receive any kind of response. If you do have a real problem with the unit the return and exchange policy is pretty much nonexistent. So be sure this is what you want.
    – The software is buggy and the Wi-Fi will hardly ever connect
    -the smart extruder clogs frequently and is not self-serviceable.
    -It is incredibly loud when running
    -It is around twice as slow as most comparable models
    -the proprietary spool size means that replacement filament is going to cost you a pretty penny
    All in all there are far better options available for less money. I would not recommend this company or printer to anyone. Don’t buy the hype.

  2. This is one of the rare products that deserves a negative star rating. Before you even consider spending money with this company know this. There is a design flaw with their smart extruder which will cause it to clog beyond repair rapidly. Their support plan only covers two replacements for this part. I went through all three extruder in less than a month. They will not refund or replace the unit because of this. Now I am stuck with a 2000 dollar paper weight sitting in my office reminding me where my hard earned money went. This is a terrible product made by a scam company. Do not spend a dime with these people.

  3. I decided to buy this model after seeing all the advertisements. Man what a load of crap. Nothing works as intended out of the box. My Wi-Fi wouldn’t connect, the camera was completely nonfunctional, and one of the LEDs just stayed lit all the time for no reason. And that is before we get to the printing. This machine is slow and excessively loud when operational. But not to worry it won’t be working for long. The smart extruder is apparently defective and clogs after one or two prints. The only reason I know how it prints is that support took three weeks to respond to my ticket about the defective hardware from when I unboxed it. Luckily for me they told me to send it back and I took the refund. I will never do business with this company again.

  4. I have had my Replicator mini for just over a month and I love it. This is my first time delving into the world of 3d printing and this unit was everything I was looking for.
    It took me about an hour to get the printer assembled and the software installed but the process was simple even for a beginner like me. I found plenty of objects to print from thingiverse.com. Over the first weekend I was able to make some toys for my nephew and some useful items for the house. The whole process of creating objects form nothing is pretty awesome. I have heard many people complain about the speed of this model but I was actually impressed by how quickly I was able to create various objects. My nephew is really excited to come over and help me pick out some new projects to work on.
    This printer has gone beyond what I expected from my first foray. The unit is nice and compact and looks pretty cool just sitting on my desk. My only gripe is that it is louder than I anticipated, but given the performance so far it is not a bad trade off. I definitely recommend this product to anyone looking to enter the world of 3d printing. As soon as I can justify the expense I plan to upgrade to a full size Replicator.

  5. This printer is quite possibly the worst product on the market. Seriously don’t waste your time and money. I have had this one for 6 months and already had to replace the extruder twice. The first one leaked and left trails of plastic all over the place. The second one clogged up in short order. As for the prints, the quality is horrible. It leaves holes and gaps that are not insignificant on almost every print. The process is slow compared to other units and it is wake up the neighbors loud when running. To top all of this off, they use Core-xyz without giving credit. This piece of garbage has really lowered my opinion of Makerbot as a company.

  6. This is without a doubt the worst piece of tech I have ever purchased. Don’t waste your money. In the month since I received the unit it has primarily been an expensive paperweight. The extruder is known to be defective and jams constantly. Now I am stuck explaining to the head of my department why we spent over a thousand dollars on a piece of equipment that does not function and can’t be returned. There is not much more to say about this product. The extruder issue is well documented even on their own website and still there is no real effort to correct the problem or refund consumers. If I could think of anything positive to add I would.

  7. It does work but the results and the software are both trash. Sooner rather than later the nozzle on the extruder will clog beyond clearing and it is not self-serviceable. Then you will be stuck waiting about a month on a replacement to be shipped. When it does print it does not do a good job. PLA is the only filament material which gives even passible results. Even so, supports are printed in the wrong place and can’t be corrected without having to manually edit the text in the config file. There are no accessible user options for adjusting the prints. This model is too difficult to use for beginners and does not produce finished prints of high enough quality to warrant learning how to make it work.

  8. I’ve been designing 3d for about 14 years. This is my 1st 3d printing experience. I got my 1st mini @ Sams club for $799. The setup documentation is poor for a 3d printer novice (what is the clear tube etc). I was able to figure it out with the aid of Google searches.

    The printer made one successful print then forever gave an extruder disconnected error. It went back to Sams club for exchange.

    My 2nd mini has been hands down phenomenal and a reliable workhorse. I’ve made about 50 prints in the 3 weeks I’ve had it. I’m on my 3rd filament spool. I’ve had maybe 3 or 4 failed prints. 2 of which were operator error. At least 1 failure for a filament spool bind. I have not had any extruder clogs.
    I find the print quality is pretty consistent. Models are certainly not glass smooth and you can see and feel the layers. Without any prior 3d printing experience for comparison, the layering is a non-issue. I use sandpaper if I need it smooth.

    The cellphone app is great. I can see the progress anywhere but I wish the resolution was better. My Mini is not loud but the constant whirring is annoying if you’re also watching TV etc so I often put it in another room and connect by WiFi.

    I don’t print useless dimestore stuff. It seems that 99% of Makerbot”s Thingieverse is dimestore stuff so I make my own. I’ve always been a sort of tinkerer in venter and this mini is a dream come true.
    The build size is very small but objects can often be made in sections and then assembled into a larger part.

    I find the mini to be a must have for tinkerers inventers like myself who want to only fuss with their projects and designs and not the printer.

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