RS Components is shipping the latest version of the MakerBot 3D printer – the MakerBot Method – which has been created to bridge the gap between industrial and desktop 3D printing. The unit is aimed at engineers and designers who use 3D modelling software and want to create product prototypes quickly for a variety of designs, such as to accelerate product development or to guarantee the viability of parts before proceeding to volume production.
A principal feature of the Method is its fast printing speed, which is up to two times quicker than other popular desktop 3D printers, based on a variety of tests employing the same layer height and in-fill density settings. Use of the printer can save days or conceivably weeks in comparison to the time taken to outsource prototyping via other additive manufacturing methods or CNC machining, for example.
Another significant advantage is the unit’s industrial reliability and precision: for example, the device has a circulating heated chamber, which controls the heat of each layer and presents a dimensional accuracy of ±0.2mm, as well as improved layer adhesion and higher part strength.
The device also comes with dual high-performance extruders, which provide lengthened thermal cores and optimised torque to maximise the material flow rate at high speeds. Also, it has an industry-leading suite of sensors with a network of 21 intelligent devices embedded throughout to achieve enhanced control over the printing process.
Other specifications include layer resolution from 400 down to 20 microns; maximum build volumes of 19cm x 19cm x 19.6cm for single- and 15.2cm x 19cm x 19.6cm for dual-extrusion processes; and connectivity options including WiFi, Ethernet or USB drive.