Initial Thoughts on My Makerbot Replicator 2x

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Today I finally received my new Makerbot Replicator 2x 3D printer. I also received another box containing two spools of plastic filament (one ABS and one PLA) that I had ordered extra. I am supposed to receive another package that contains the acrylic top cover… I have not received that one yet. I carefully opened the box for the printer and setup it up. Here are a few points I want to make:

  • A sheet of paper packed at the top of the box did mention that I might get the plastic cover shipped to me at another time (depending on the shipper).
  • White plastic tie-downs where being used to hold the double extruder print head in place during shipping. What was cool was they were wrapped around red blocks of plastic that were obviously printed on a 3D printer!
  • There was supposed to be a plastic spacer between the two gantry bars to kind of hold things steady during shipping. My printer did not have this. In other words it was missing.
  • As expected, the printer came with an SD card which was already plugged into the printer’s SD card slot.
  • The printer came with 2 spools of ABS plastic filament. It was not clear when I bought the printer that it would be included (which is why I had bought 2 spools separately).
  • It took a bit of jiggering to get the print platform aligned.
  • I decided to print the comb model (one of the models that came on the SD card).
  • I had a bear of a time getting something to print… Turns out you really need to put this film on the printing platform called Kapton Tape. This stuff, at least the stuff that came with the printer looks more like overhead projector transparencies than tape! Interestingly enough the user manual mentions nothing about this in the setup section of the book. And this stuff did not come pre-installed in my printer! After I put this stuff in I started to get somewhere.
  • You want to make sure that before you print that you remove any plastic goop off of the extruders (even if it is the other extruder that you are not using)! That goop may knock over what you are printing as the print head moves around!
  • I finally was able to print a “comb.” It came out a bit warped so I don’t think it would do a good job of combing your hair! This warping problem may be due to platform not being heated warm enough. The acrylic cover has a lot to do with keeping the heat stable in the printing area so we’ll see how that helps the print quality once I get it.
  • I can adjust the temperature of the print platform (make it higher), and perhaps I should adjust the height of the platform so it is slightly closer to the print head’s extruders. We will see.
  • BTW, I printed the comb in PLA which should be less fussy. I am still working out the tweaks.

Some final notes: some parts of the user manual are very clear, some need some help (there are two sections one after the other on loading filament… it gets confusing what is happening here). This mainly is during just the printer setup section.

I am looking forward to becoming a Makerbot expert! Until later…

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