Though the Replicator 2 is designed to print objects BIG, you can also repli-
cate very tiny objects. No matter how big or small you go, the machine de-
livers the same high level of precision. The Replicator 2 can position the tool-
head in the X and Y axes with an accuracy of 11 microns (0.0004 inches) and
the resolution of the Z axis (your model's layer height) can be as fine as 0.1
millimeters, about the thickness of a sheet of paper.
The Replicator 2's print speed is best in class. MakerBot engineers have
worked to optimize print time by improving the extrusion speed, (how quickly
the extruder can push plastic through the nozzle), the printing speed, (the
rate the toolhead can move while printing), and the travel speed, (the rate
the toolhead can move while not extruding). So Replicator 2 will print a LOT
faster than the original Replicator. Still, your final print time will ultimately
depend on your model and your settings. Let's look at an example.
When you're setting up your model for print, you can set what percentage of
your model is solid vs. empty space (this setting is called “infill”). MakerBots
are smart enough to optimize the print so that you get a solid, strong and
beautiful print without wasting all your plastic. For toys and models, you can
usually get away with 10% infill and still have plenty of strength. But for mod-
els requiring extra structural rigidity, the machine can print all the way up to
100% infill. This means it's solid plastic.
The machine can print a 25% filled cube that's 2 cm by 2 cm by 1 cm in about
five minutes. But remember, in this case 75% of the interior is empty space.
So it's printing an object that takes up 4 cubic centimeters of space, but it's
mostly hollow. All the faces of the cube are solid, so the actual amount of
plastic works out to be just a bit over 25% of 4 cm 2 , or 1 cm 2 . This means the
MakerBot can print a 100% solid object of about one cubic centimeter of
material in 5 minutes.
Figure 5-2 shows the calibration cube next to a US quarter coin for
Figure 5-2. A little more than one cubic centimeter of filament and five to
ten minutes of your time