When you use a MakerBot, the temperature you print at depends on what
material you're using to print: PLA or ABS (see “MakerBot Plastics: ABS and
PLA” (page 3) ). The Replicator 2 is designed to use PLA—and does not have
a heated build plate, which is needed for ABS. The original Replicator can
work with either ABS or PLA, and includes a heated build plate.
Different filament materials have different properties. To get
best results when printing with ABS, the heated build platform
keeps the plastic from cooling too quickly and splitting or
cracking. For the sake of MakerBot Operators who print with
ABS, we're including information on heated build platforms.
There are two temperatures you need to be aware of:
The extruder nozzle
This needs to be pretty hot in order to melt the print material. For ABS,
that melting temperature is around 105° C, which is pretty darn hot (just
above boiling). For PLA, it's 150° C. In order to achieve the viscosity
needed for extrusion, the Replicator extruder runs at 230°. That tem-
perature is certainly enough to burn you, so you need to keep your hands
(and kids and pets) away from the extruder nozzle and heating block
until it's cooled down.
The heated build platform (original Replicator and earlier models)
This gets pretty hot, too. It warms your object from the bottom up, and
keeps it from cooling completely during the print. This gives you better
quality prints and holds it to the platform until you're done. The heated
build platform runs at 100 C for ABS, which is the boiling point of water.
With PLA, a heated build platform is not required, thanks to better cool-
ing properties of the material. Some people still like to experiment with
heated platforms when printing very large models with a lot of infill in
PLA, often in the neighborhood of 50° and 70° C. If you want to run cold,
try putting blue painter's tape on the platform and disabling the heated
From your first glance at the Replicator 2, you can see that it is a huge de-
parture from past MakerBots. You can see the front in Figure 5-3 and the back
view in Figure 5-4 . This MakerBot has a powder coated steel frame with re-
movable and replaceable body panels. This is a massive improvement over
the original Replicator: steel is precise, rigid, and immune to the effects of
temperature and moisture variations. The precision of the new frame design
means less maintenance, improved reliability and better print quality. Best
of all, the MakerBot community can use this frame as a rock-solid platform
for them to upgrade, decorate, and customize their bots!