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Replicator 2

3D Printing & Imaging Workshop
Replicator 2


MakerBot / / Available in the Maker Shed

Price as tested $2,199
Print volume 11.2″×6″×6.1″
Heated bed? No
Print materials PLA
OS supported Linux, Mac, Windows
Print untethered? Yes
Open-source hardware? No
Open-source software? No
Printer control software MakerWare
Slicing software MakerBot Slicer

MakerBot Industries, based in Brooklyn, N.Y., has been in business longer than any other desktop 3D printer manufacturer, and it shows in the Replicator 2, among the most mature of the fused-filament fabrication printers in the desktop market today. Their fourth-generation printers stands out in a room full of plywood and aluminum extrusions as one of the few that looks and works like a consumer product.

Untethered and Intuitive

With its black powder-coated frame, black PVC panels, and soft glowing LEDs, the MakerBot Replicator 2 is attractive and durable. It has onboard controls with a large LCD screen that enable completely untethered printing directly from an SD card, so you can print all day long without having to attach your computer. MakerBot’s MakerWare software, which is beautiful, intuitive, and easy-to-use, gets you printing quickly.

Last year we judged this machine “best in class” in the premium category — this year’s model is the same great machine, with a few key hardware, software, and firmware upgrades. Interestingly, although the machine and its software are now closed source, these improvements have all come from open-source projects.

Extruder Fix Now Standard

The initial design of the Replicator 2 extruder had tensioning problems that often resulted in filament feeding failures. Through Thingiverse, MakerBot’s 3D file-sharing website, an openly designed and well-publicized extruder upgrade emerged, due to the efforts of superstar Thingiverse users Dr. Henry P. Thomas (whpthomas), Emmett Lalish (emmett), and Deezmaker’s Rich Cameron (whosawhatsis). MakerBot decided the approach was “too good to ignore” and began offering it as an upgrade kit for the Replicator 2. The upgraded extruder, with a spring-loaded arm that squeezes the filament between the drive gear and a bearing, is now standard on the Replicator 2.

In addition, the acrylic build plate that was formerly covered with a raised MakerBot “M” logo has been replaced by a completely smooth plate. In the previous version, the logo would emboss itself into the bottom of prints.

Firmware Improvements

The biggest change in the Replicator 2 from last year’s model is the upgraded MakerBot firmware. We noted greatly improved acceleration, better quality on high-detail prints, and an overall quieter printing experience. These improvements came directly from the Sailfish firmware project, which was created and is maintained by the dedicated efforts of two exceptional developers, “Jetty” and “Dnewman,” who have openly shared their firmware (if not their identities) with the Thingiverse community.


Software Updates

MakerBot’s proprietary software MakerWare has also been given some love. The MakerBot Slicer (formerly called “Miracle Grue”) has been overhauled to slice faster and more accurately, for improved print quality. An “auto layout” option for automatically arranging models on the build plate has been added. Another welcome addition is that slicing profiles for both of the integrated slicers (MakerBot Slicer and Skeinforge) are now fully editable.


All these improvements made a big difference in print quality. The machine “just worked” without fuss throughout our testing. PLA prints had no stringing and a uniform finish with no gaps or ridges. The Replicator 2 printed the best Heart Box in the shootout, and the second-best half-size Lightbulb.

For ease of use and excellent print quality right out of the box, the MakerBot Replicator 2 is still the printer to beat in the prosumer market. MakerBot CEO Bre Pettis recently said in a MAKE Google Hangout that his machine is “good enough for a professional to put on their desk, but friendly enough for everyone else.” The Replicator 2 lives up to this claim, although at $2,199 it remains out of the price range of many users.

Primo features

  • Onboard controls and SD card let you print completely untethered from your computer.
  • Three-point bed leveling system allows for extremely quick and easy bed leveling.

Who’s It For?

  • Designers
  • Makers
  • Beginners with bucks

Pro Tips

  • Make sure your bed is leveled. This is the solution to many print issues.
  • We found that prints adhered to the acrylic build platform a little too well. Use blue painter’s tape to make removal easier, then use a razor blade to quickly clean print residue off the tape.
  • Open source and cutting edge: Get Sailfish firmware for any MakerBot printer at

Ultimate Guide to 3D Printing 2014This review first appeared in MAKE’s Ultimate Guide to 3D Printing 2014, page 68. Check out the full issue for more!


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I design games for work and for fun. I recently graduated from Savannah College of Art and Design, and am now employed as a designer at Toys for Bob.

View more articles by Blake Maloof
3D Printing & Imaging Workshop
Replicator 2

MakerBot Industries

No longer open source, the Replicator 2 nevertheless impresses with major upgrades.
Torture test print. Click to view large.

THE REPLICATOR 2 IS THE NEWEST ITERATION OF MAKERBOT’S wildly popular Replicator. Now faster, quieter, and with a paper-thin 100-micron minimum layer height, the Replicator 2 is worthy of its 2.0 badge. It sports a new steel frame, oil-impregnated bronze linear bearings, and a 37% larger build volume, and it’s optimized for PLA.

2013 MAKE Ultimate Guide To 3D Printing

  • 3D Printers Buyer's Guide — 15 Reviewed
  • Getting Started in 3D
  • Learn the Software Toolchain
  • 3D Design for Beginners
  • 3D Printing without a Printer

Buy now!

Just Released! 2014 MAKE Ultimate Guide To 3D Printing

  • Primo Features LCD control panel, cold pause, paper-thin layer heights
  • Print volume 11.2″×6″×6.1″
  • Print speed 80–100mm/sec
  • Print material PLA
  • Resolution (z-axis) 0.10mm–0.34mm
  • Machine software MakerWare
  • Slicing software MakerWare
  • OS supported Windows, Mac, Linux
  • Open Source No
  • Price as tested $2,199
  • Pedigree MakerBot Replicator
  • Print without PC? Yes, SD card

Buy Printer Now!

20 thoughts on “Replicator 2

  1. drestuff says:

    I received my lomg awaited Rep2 last week. Makerbot released a product with a serious design flaw. The feeder approach to the extruder has 3 places which consistently stall the extruder and ruin prints. A real review would have caught this and documented it. Makerbot must make this good for those who coughed up the $2200 for their machine. Fixes are well documented on the Thingaverse. Makerbot has no excuse for producing the Rep2 with the plunger design.

    1. F-Bomb says:

      I have had significant extrusion problems with my new Replicator 2, as well. I found the 0.1mm layer height setting (fine print quality) entirely unusable.

      1. drestuff says:

        Forget using Makerware. Go to ReplicatorG. Also go get the latest derivative of the extruder upgrade at the Thingiverse ASAP.

  2. Chester Wong says:

    Plus crappy customer service, I think I know what NOT to get. Thanks for the heads up.

  3. FightCube says:

    Wow, these comments surprise me. I hope Makerbot can repair this negative perception.

  4. S.C. says:

    I have had nothing but misery since I purchased the Rep 2. Even with the extruded fix, it has failed every attempt at printing. That they started selling these units with such obvious design flaws is staggering. Total lemon. They’ll only accept returns of unopened packages as well – if you buy it, you’re stuck with it, left to dick around with it until you want to shoot yourself. Apparently, some people get adequate results with theirs. In my case, I WISH I had wasted my money on something else. This machine is a complete, frustrating waste.

  5. Bill preston says:

    Makerbot, Makershot. Printer is flawed in design and the companies customer service is ZERO!! they take the money and provide no service at all. You are better off trying your luck with a machine worth 1/3 the price from india

  6. Marcos says:

    I’m from Brazil and I received my Replicator-2 last week and it already printed more than 50 hours without any loss until today when the pla jam into the extruder. I followed the steps in the troubleshooting and it came back working perfectly. Although it is working good, I ordered the extruder upgrade today. I am 100% satisfied so far. Sorry for bad english …

  7. mike says:

    I saved up for 2 years and solicited companies for more money. I have had the replicator 2 for about 1 month. It printed great for the first few prints and started air printing. It has not worked since. What a piece of junk! I have spent hours with tech. support and I am treated like the unit is 10 years old and I am an idiot. I told them it is a lemon and I want it replaced with something that works….”my supervisor won’t allow this” What, I bought a new unit that does not work and this is what I get? My 7th graders are crushed as they have been working hard and get nothing to take home…..what a shame! Don’t buy this unit. My frustration is terribly high and I am not sure what I can do. I am guessing I need to return it and hope my school district gets the money back! What a joke!


  8. eric says:

    As someone discussed earlier concerning Makerbot, I do not understand where you noticed that information, be sure you examine right here Click on Replicator at the bottom part

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