3D printing is evolving quickly. What was once a very niche, professionals-only endeavor is becoming ever closer to a consumer-level industry. Makerbot's latest desktop 3D printer, the Replicator 2 makes a future where 3D printers are as common in households as computers seem not so far away.
The latest generation has better, faster software, finer layer resolution (the lines where the material is layered are far less visible) and can make larger objects. And at $2,199, plus $50 for either ABS or PLA plastic in 1kg spools, it's approaching a price that many would consider paying to have the technology in their home.
The Replicator 2 is being marketed as a "prosumer" 3D printer, which makes sense. It's likely too expensive for a hobbyist, but for a small business that makes 3D models and needs something that will churn out high quality builds at a not astronomical price, it fits the bill. It also shows how quickly the industry is making its way to high quality at-home 3D printing -- where we can build what we need, where we need it, to our exact specifications and with no transportation costs or emissions and no wasted resources.
For those who are ready to own, the Makerbot community Thingiverse is home to 28,000 projects and growing for you to download and build and, in the spirit of the DIY community, they're all free and open to anyone.
You can watch the Replicator 2 in action in the following videos.