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.
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
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.
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.