Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Makerbot and Afinia at CES

It may surprise some that I have not mentioned Makerbot a single time in these forums.

It is NOT because their machines don't work and, presumably well.  It's because I have had a hard time trying to figure out how to cover their printers without saying something VERY negative about their claims being more than a little annoying.

Last year, 12 minutes and 30 seconds into a C/Net video, the claim was made that "With the Makerbot you can make another 3D printer."   When I heard that, it completely turned me off toward Makerbot.

 I know that claim is a GOAL of the RepRap community.  But, let's be realistic, it is a LONG, LONG way off.  In fact, it hit me as so completely over the top and fraudulent, that I have found it has tainted my ability to trust any of their claims.  A few plastic components does NOT "make another 3D printer."

This year, true to form, they are touting the new Replicator2X as being meant for “daredevils and experimenters to explore the frontiers of 3D printing.

Come on.  WHAT are you doing guys.  People have been successfully printing in ABS for a while now.  Yes, it's more challenging than PLA.  But, even the little Cube printer, which is clearly aimed at the docile consumer market. prints in ABS.  We're noast taming lions here.  We're trying to get everyday work done.

But, the hype appears to be working among the reporters walking the floor at CES.  Otherwise, how do we explain that the Afinia, the U.S. cousin of UP!, has received almost NO coverage. 

That's too bad.  From all accounts, not only is it a capable printer; but, the company seems to get rave reviews from purchasers.  I have written to one of the CES floor reporters asking them to give us news about Afinia and I will be watching for it.

Now, back to the Replicator 2X.  I love the idea of the heated bed AND the built-in enclosure.  The design recognizes that ambient temperature and the environment in which we print DOES impact the warping of ABS plastic.  And, the enclosure seems to be nicely and compactly designed.  So, I have high hopes that the printer will actually be able to produce fine quality results, which, after all, is what all of us are looking for.

As soon as I hear any news from CES on the Afinia, I'll post a link.

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