MakerBot began producing entry-level 3D printers back in 2009. They were nothing like the company’s latest models, as the printers were targeted towards the growing maker community. Even so, the company was able to find massive success in tinkerers, DIY enthusiasts, and the like to grow one of the first consumer 3D printer lines.
A lot has changed in nearly a decade. And just like they did originally, MakerBot’s newest release is looking to shake up the 3D printer space. Today, MakerBot has unveiled its new Method Printer, which the company is touting as the “world’s first performance 3D printer.” Head below to see how this premium device stacks up.
While MakerBot is rooted in more humble origins, the company’s latest release looks far from it. The Method Printer’s goal is to blur the line between industrial models and printers more commonly found inside your home. And to look the part, it features a more streamlined form-factor and design.
But in a world where not everyone needs, or really even wants, a 3D printer, MakerBot has had to do some rethinking. Instead of ditching the consumer market entirely for professional models, the company has landed somewhere in the middle. The Method printer targets a more prosumer market than past releases and boasts a premium price tag to prove it.
Costing $6,499, the MakerBot Method Performance 3D Printer is far from budget-friendly. Compared to many of the other desktop printers out there, that’s over ten times the price of standard models. In fact, it’s over twice the cost of MakerBot’s current most-expensive product, the Replicator+. So what makes this worthy of its premium price?
Most notably, with a maximum print resolution of 20 microns, it’s far more precise than other models. Even something like Monoprice’s $1,300 Delta PRO 3D Printer only has a resolution of 50 microns. So those looking for prints with the highest fidelity will be right at home with MakerBot’s latest.
Its second most notable feature is that it claims to be two times as fast as other desktop printers. Method utilizes a dual nozzle system to not only speed up the process, but print in multiple colors or even materials. It also features a heated 7.5 x 7.5 x 7.75-inch print bed and an enclosed print space to help prevent materials from warping due to outside factors.
It looks to excel when put up to industrial tasks that are executed on a much smaller scope. Those in the business of creating product or part prototypes will find something like the Method printer to be a more affordable option than outsourcing their R&D needs.
But those kinds of use cases leave the maker community in the cold. Some may be able to shell out $6,500, but abandoning the market that got MakerBot to where they are shows that maybe 3D printers aren’t ready for prime time like many thought.
If you’re looking to get into 3D printing but aren’t sure where to start, consider the following options. Monoprice’s Mini Delta Printer will only set you back $160. It’s one of the more entry-level devices on the market, but still includes an LCD screen and other notable features like a heated print bed. If you’re willing to pay a little extra, FlashForge’s Finder 3D Printer is a much more consumer-friendly model. It’ll run you $299, but is designed to lower the barrier to entry with more intuitive software.
MakerBot’s new Method 3D Printer is currently available for pre-order and will be shipping sometime in 2019.
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