After having spent the first half of the 2010's riding out a hype wave, the MakerBot brand found itself washed up on the sandy beaches of brand name recognition. The efforts to put a MakerBot in every home failed, but most homes have at least heard the name.
The 5th generation MakerBot Replicator carries on with the original MakerBot dream, with ease of use a central theme of the printer's design. Clogged or otherwise faulty extruders have been the bane of users of most desktop 3D printers. MakerBot's solution: a modular "Smart Extruder", attachable via a magnetic outfitting , and fitted with sensors designed to detect problems early. The dedicated MakerBot software is, by most accounts, easy to navigate and acclimate to.
If a particularly lengthy print takes users away from their Replicator, the built-in monitoring system relays a live feed back to the MakerBot app to ease the printers concerns. The sleek LCD interface is top-mounted, reducing uncomfortable neck kinks acquired from craning over the traditionally bottom-mounted versions. Cloud connectivity allows users to send STL files to print while on the go.
Despite this laundry list of exciting features, the fifth gen Replicator finds itself besieged by the same old Replicator issues. The relatively high price point is unjustified in the views of many hobbyists, many who feel they are mostly paying for MakerBot's marketing budget. The Smart Extruder is a topic of intense polarity, with more users than should be ignored complaining of constant (expensive) replacements being necessary.
If 3D printing ever becomes the household mainstay of dreams past, MakerBot figures to be in a good standing in the consumer marketplace. But laypeople aren't engineers, and most don't care to be. Until MakerBot produces a printer that works thoughtlessly and consistently, no amount of clever marketing will make their dream a reality.
Don't buy this printer, there are so many better options.
When it comes to higher definition printing things can get a little webby...Overall though, it is a very good printer. It is incredibly user friendly.
Still one of the best 3D printers you can buy right now...Replicator’s super-polished software and myriad smart features make up for those shortcomings multiple times over.
Stands out for its ease of setup, smooth operation, above-average print quality, user-friendly software, and multiple connectivity choices.
For those willing to invest the time and the money, the MakerBot Replicator will provide the most powerful consumer 3D printing experience available.