MakerBot has been a true leader in the 3D printing universe the last few years by producing some of the first home-based 3D printers ever available. They’re also the company behind the drive to get 3D printers into public and private schools so every child can learn how to operate this budding technology. In that regard, you could say MakerBot is the true pillar of the 3D printing industry, or at least in the forwardness toward in-house manufacturing.
As with all technology, the 3D printer is gradually becoming smaller while features continually get better. MakerBot has a new printer model out now called the Replicator Mini that’s making waves and may be the true calling card for the mainstream buying a 3D printer. The features behind it tell you we’re at a turning point in 3D printing technology and that this model is going to truly decide how many households actually own one.
What Makes the Replicator Mini So Different?
The fact this is the first at-home 3D printer available in a more compact form already shows us how small these printers will eventually become. This one is considerably reduced in dimensions from previous home models designed for desk use. However, it still has standard openings on each side so you can watch the printing process from beginning to end.
This model also has a standout feature in one-touch printing, which hadn’t been available before. Perhaps what’s kept people from buying 3D printers before is that there was fear of needing technical skills in order to operate one successfully. On the Replicator Mini, you press one button and the printing gets underway. But the tools available to print make it even easier.
It used to be you needed some 3D graphics skills in order to create anything of worth on a 3D printer. MakerBot is changing the game on this by adding new software on their Replicator Mini allowing you to easily create sophisticated objects (albeit made only of plastic) in a short amount of time. While this may seem like it more or less does the work for you, the sense of creation is still there for a feeling of accomplishment. You can basically infuse some of your own personality into the designs.
Then there’s also existing 3D models that are available from the MakerBot Digital Store. These start in price from 99 cents and go up depending on how complex the object is.
The creative aspects become enhanced when you see how the storage capabilities are right up to date with the future of how we’re storing things.
Use of the Cloud
With the cloud being used everywhere, it hadn’t been used with 3D printer file storage prior to now. The Replicator Mini allows you to store specific 3D files in the cloud for easy retrieval wherever you have an Internet connection. MakerBot promises wireless capability eventually, though you simply use an USB cord to upload your 3D item wherever you go. Because the Mini is so portable, you can take it as part of your business if you’re a recurring traveler.
Along with fairly good technical support, MakerBot now sets a high bar for all the copycat 3D companies out there trying to vie for the home market. It might turn out that MakerBot becomes a monopoly in the 3D printing home market eventually, which isn’t necessarily a good thing. Only if they stay as conscientious as they are now will it make a difference in whether the 3D printing experience at home is a major success or a 3D-printed bust.