MakerBot ‘Replicator’ 3D Printer at CES 2012 Can Make Anything (In Two Colors)


Earlier this week at the Consumer Electronics Show—and unfortunately not a Star Trek convention—3D printer manufacturer, MakerBot, unveiled its newest amazing product dubbed the “MakerBot Replicator.” With two versions capable of making objects about the size of a loaf of bread (8.9 x 5.7 x 5.9 inches), the MakerBot is a product capable of extruding plastic into a 3D pattern that can rapidly prototype almost anything that can be modeled in a 3D program and exported onto an SD card.

This amazing little device is visual in nature, so spend a moment and listen to a demo as to how it works and what it does–and why this new version is just another step towards the production of Star Trek’s magical “replicators.”

The Replicator itself starts at $1,799 for a model with a single extruder—that is with only one plastic producing and applying nozzle—and $1,999 for the model with two. Going with the dual-extruder attachment means that the cheerful owner can make objects with two different colors of plastic.

The objects made by the product are nothing short of unbelievably interesting. In the video above, Bre Pettis, CEO and Co-founder of MakerBot Industries, demos a number of objects the Replicator is capable of replicating—including a two-color globe of the earth and a clockwork-heart item. As long as the object can be modeled in 3D software, exported to a shape file the Replicator can read, and the attachments can reach the sections to be modeled, you’ll have your very own 3D printed bauble.

I have numerous friends who would love to have even a single-color busts of the MMORPG characters they play day-to-day in video games.

Although the primary use of MakerBot products is to use quick-hardening plastic, the company also makes extruder kits that allow for the use of edible products such as frosting, creamy peanut butter, jelly, and nutella. Perhaps if a clockwork-heart doesn’t tickle your fancy, you might look into the Frostruder MK2 Kit. I imagine that specialty cake makers might find this one particularly interesting with the right software.