James

06/05/2015

I was unsure about makerbot. I've heard a lot about them and their printers, both good and bad. But in the end, I needed a little more polished product and less experimental equipment. I narrowed it down to them based on support (although I haven't had to test it yet), product features, and that they are at or near the top of all the side by side comparisons.

The printer arrived as promised. I pulled it out of the packaging and set it up per the included instructions. The only extra step I did was to go through the platform leveling process twice. 45 minutes later I had my first successful print off the machine.

My next print was a much larger prototype that ran for 8 hours with no hiccups.

One question I had before purchasing was if filament is included wi the kit. It is, two one pound spools. I got one red, one white.

The only issue I had was that makerware crashed on my desktop and wouldn't load. I was able to run it on my laptop just fine. I put in a service ticket to resolve the issue with my desktop computer.

I'll try to remember to update this as I get more time on the printer, along with successful vs unsuccessful prints.

I'm very experienced with rapid prototypes (SLA, FDM, SLS, Polyjet, etc), but only have hands-on experience with very expensive equipment. So far this printer is outperforming the old stratasys dimension I used to print lots of string with!

Arief Aryanto

14/04/2015

Makerbot a name synonymous with 3d printing. My first direct contact with any 3d printer except for a Lulzbot in another department. I did not hear good things about that printer. I chose Makerbot because many people use them and two extruders and HIPS was the reason I chose the 2X. I have heard horror stories about using 3d printers. I am not surprised given the variety and minimal technical innovations these machines are based upon.

The Replicator 2x came ready to go except it was missing one panel screw and one plastic foot. I managed to make several prints before I started having issues. Stuck HIPS filament, Shaky build table, uneven print head nozzle height and a sag where the extruders centers over the build table.

When I first started having problems with the filament, Makerbot support was a ghost. I could have spent $500 for prime support just to have someone help me. Really Makerbot first week and you can’t help a new customer? Email took days and sometimes weeks. One of my extruders when down and I finally used a drill bit from the top to remove the clog. After waiting for support for a week. I knew then I was on my own.

The machine itself is mass produced so has skipped a few modifications that would have made it great. Like a stiffer bed supports and larger linear rails to support two extruders without sag. At this price point these could have been added. I believe my machine had updated filament feed parts that others have had issues with.

The good is it is very easy to go from the software to the machine to make prints, the bad news it’s a learning curve to setup the machine. For a first time user. Makerbot support may or may not help you, depends on if you have money to spend or you get lucky.

I can’t really say there is better printer out there unless you have more money to spend. I am investing the time and effort into turning this into a good machine without Makerbots help. Many third party companies make upgrades to fix the issues I am experiencing.

I guess I wanted a superior machine and found the Replicator 2X somewhat lacking in build quality. The prints are good when you overcome the inconsistencies of its design. Fixing issues with new parts should make the machine a great machine. I just wanted to print my projects not make the printer my project.

Christopher Warnock

19/03/2015

I had ordered my MakerBot Replicator 2X prior to the X being designated as "experimental". When it arrived, It printed fine, I wondered why they might call it experimental? I still don't have an answer for that but I can tell you that if experimental means it is not ready for production use, I believe it.

I have builds fail pretty often. The extruders may stop mid print, the filament layers may curl and split while printing larger objects or the finer elements of a print may not completely print but just fade off into fuzz.

It is necessary to level the print bed after every large print, it seems that by torquing the printed piece to remove it from the bed, this action knocks the bed out of alignment just enough to either bring the bed too close and jam or clog the extruder head or bring it too far away and not allow the filament to bind to the bed.

When I am meticulous about the process and do everything possible to make sure the settings are just right, the build may still fail. On the next attempt it will work. If I do not watch the build, my fail rate is about 90%

Obviously, all of this may be attributed to user error and 3D printing always seems to require some finesse, but I have used other machines which seem more robust and are more entertaining to watch.

Having had the MakerBot Replicator 2X 3d printer for more than a year, I am increasingly frustrated by the printer's inability to just run and print consistently.

I am currently looking for a more reliable, less "delicate" 3d printer.

Joshua A Dishong

04/02/2015

I don't usually write reviews for products but wanted to chime in as a response to a less favorable review. I purchased a Replicator 2X last spring and use it primarily in my engineering classroom. So far we've logged a little over 450 hours of build time and it has really hit its stride now to the tune of a 95%+ successful print rate when using ABS filament.

It is important to note that this printer is designed to print with ABS and not PLA. This is why it is fully enclosed and includes a top hood to keep the build compartment as warm as possible. One suggestion I would offer is pre-heating the build plate for at least 15 minutes prior to starting a print. This will pre-warm the build area and help improve adhesion on the initial layers and prevent curling on larger surface area prints.

FWIW we have found that 120C is a more effective temperature than the default of 110C for the build plate temp. Also don't make the mistake we did and accidentally remove the amber colored kapton tape thinking it is just a protective coating.

What I really love about this machine (compared to some other pro-level models I have used with price tags north of $20K) is how many learning experiences it provides for my students. While the MakerWare software is very easy to use, and works well right out of the box, they also leave you the ability to really dig into the settings and fine tune your prints by creating custom profiles which ties into the computer science/software engineering components of my courses.

In addition it has given my students the chance to troubleshoot and problem solve in order to print with other materials. With some modifications, this machine is very capable of printing with PLA. After a student incorrectly purchased a roll of PLA for some personal printing he wanted to try, we were able to find that by adjusting the extrusion temperatures (which required a good bit of trial and error), removing the plexiglass enclosures, and designing a custom mounting bracket to attach a couple 80mm cpu fans we had laying around, it would print PLA just as well as ABS. PLA has a number of qualities that make it really great to print with...

Aside from being biodegradable and not stinking up the room, the active cooling of the PLA allowed for some really cool bridging prints (bridging is when a layer of material is printed across a gap without the use of support material). The bridging capability of the PLA is easily 3-4x greater than with ABS.

We are also looking forward to experimenting with our first spool of HIPS material to use as a soluble support material which will dissolve away in a bath of D-Limonene and should really expand the capabilities of printable designs.

All-in-all this is a terrific printer, at a fraction of the cost of a pro-level machine. The price of the machine is not the only favorable comparison either, the resolution, build speed, build envelope (max volume), and availability to experiment with a variety of new materials are all as good, or better, than any pro-level machine I've been able to find under $40K. In fact, Stratasys (the company who recently purchased MakerBot this past summer) sells an entry level machine (mojo) which pales in compassion to the 2X and is over 4x more expensive.

I will definitely be buying additional MakerBots to use in my classroom because for the price of one pro-level machine, I could put a MakerBot in every one of my engineering classrooms....I am really just holding out hope that they announce a new version of the 2X that has some of the features of the newer 5th gen Replicators just announced.

Pro's:

Build volume/speed.

Affordable materials (when compared to pro-level machines).

Customizable Profiles.

Ability to print with multiple materials.

Ability to print with two materials (or soluble support material) simultaneously.

Con's:

I really don't have any...as long as you're willing to learn about the machine, and how it works, and understand that when you call for support you're just going to get a detailed set of instructions on how to fix it yourself (compared to having a tech come out and fix it for you as with the pro-level machines) than you (and perhaps your students) will be just as happy as we are!