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Build your own with MakerBot from Ricoh

By Azizul Rahman Ismail - on 21 Jan 2015, 5:19pm

Build your own with MakerBot from Ricoh

3D printing, although an attractive prospect, is a daunting task for most people. But that is the attitude that Ricoh Malaysia is aiming to change with the introduction of MakerBot, one of the most user-friendly 3D printers in the market.

“MakerBot, from its software to its printers, is designed to be user friendly and basically foolproof. The MakerBot Replicator you see here today is in its their fifth-generation,” said MakerBot Trainer Drew Lentz.

Objects may take hours to print, depending on the size and resolution of the object.

Capable of printing object 25.2cm long, 19.9cm wide, and 15.0cm tall, the RM10,699 MakerBot Replicator is touted as the new standard in 3D printing. Wi-Fi, USB, and Ethernet enabled, the replicator is as easy to use as your desktop printer.

Lentz explains that for designers, the MakerBot Replicator could be an indispensable tool to create prototypes, while for student, especially in the architecture and engineering disciplines, can fabricate models and components in a matter of hours instead of days.

“It (Makerbot Replicator) is built to last and easy to maintain. The component that sees the most wear is the extrude. It prints the PLA (a biodegradeable thermoplastic filament known as Polylactic acid) at 215-degree Celsius so we built the printer with removable extrudes so that not only can you replace it but also upgrade it when new materials are developed,” he added.

But what if you have a 3D printer but do not know how to design in 3D? MakerBot also hosts Thingiverse, an open website where people can download and upload their 3D designs. There is also an iOS app where users can design 3D name tags, jewelry and vases on the fly and have it printed directly from their smart device.

“The MakerBot software automatically calculates the amount of materials and the time the printer needs to print a certain object. It could also help you save materials make your designs more structurally sound by using less materials where it is not needed and building scaffolding that could be easily snapped of where more support is needed."

Ricoh currently offers 26 different colors of PLA from Makerbot, starting from RM250. In the future, MakerBot hopes to have a wider selection hybrid of materials including iron, copper, and wood.

“The MakerBot Replicator is aimed at the prosumer and professionals. It has easy to use controls needs little maintenance, and as easy to use as it can be. This is also the reason why Ricoh decided to bring this product to Malaysia,” said Ricoh Malaysia's Marketing Manager, Winnie Lim.

From L-R: MakerBot Z18, MakerBot Replicator, and MakerBot Replicator Mini.

For the consumers, Ricoh introduces the MakerBot Replicator Mini. Priced at RM4,999, this 3D printer prints smaller objects at lower resolution compared to its full-sized cousin. Nevertheless, it is a great tool for hobbyists and enthusiasts alike.

At the industrial scale are the MakerBot Z18 series, which can print items up to 30.5 x 30.5 x 45.7 cm in size.

When asked about 3D object scanners, Lim said that although MakerBot has a Digitizer 3D Scanner, there is no demand for it yet.

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