So, during my last week as a Technician at Loughborough University, we had a new arrival….
A Makerbot Replicator 5th generation 3D printer!
This printer comes cloud enabled and with a computer application, can print 11% larger than the Replicator 2 and has a 100 micron layer resolution: meaning it can print paper thin layers!
What initially impressed me about this printer was the application, once installed, it was very user friendly. With pre-installed files for demo prints and an simple user manual: it wasn’t long until me and my colleague has set off our first print!
Due to the size and quantity of the files, this print took around 3 hours and once finished each piece needed to be prised off the base.
This was another pleasant feature of the Makerbot printer: as part of the printing process, a base, the same size of the object being printed, is constructed which has a reduced amount of contact with printing platform, making it easier to pull off.
Although I had a limited amount of time to use the makerbot, I am really excited about the potential this printer shall bring to the studios.
It uses a PLA plastic also known as Polylactic acid (as opposed to an ABS) which not only is safer: as it doesn’t give off fumes, but it is also biodegradable and has a slightly lower melting temperature. This means that it could be used in Lost wax casting!
Overall, I was thoroughly impressed with the Makerbot, a lot of the software and provided files are still in Beta mode, but from initial usage, it was a productive and exciting experience!