Makerbot Releases The Smart Extruder+

Makerbot has just announced the availability of their new Smart Extruder+, a PLA 3D printer head that offers “better performance over a longer period of time.” This is the first major upgrade to Makerbot’s extruder since the launch of their Fifth Generation printer.

The new head is the first that has been tested by parent company Stratasys for reliability. I tested an early version and found it similar to the previous version. The primary complaint users had with the old extruder was a tendency to fail after a few months of use, something I have not experienced. I will put the new extruder through its paces this week and report back but thus far print quality has been the same as with the previous extruder.

“The extruder is the most critical part of a 3D printer and it is a part that wears out after a certain period of time and needs to be replaced. We engineered and tested the Smart Extruder+ to enhance its reliability, provide better performance and extend its lifetime. And we stand behind it by doubling our warranty to six months. Because it is swappable, the Smart Extruder+ can also reduce downtime when it’s time to replace it,” said Jonathan Jaglom, CEO of MakerBot.

From the release:

The Smart Extruder+ features improved key components to ensure longer-lasting reliability, such as an enhanced thermal management system and an extended PTFE tube to feed the filament into the nozzle. Additional improvements include faster print start up and refined build plate leveling, the process of calibrating a 3D printer. The smart sensors within the extruder have been enhanced for better performance and to streamline the printing process from start to completion – which can save time and money. The Smart Extruder+ sensor system communicates with MakerBot Desktop and MakerBot Mobile to keep users informed about the status of a print wherever they go. For example, the filament detection sensor notifies users – on their computer or mobile phone – when filament is absent and automatically pauses a print to enable print recovery.

The Extruder costs $199 and will ship on January 18th. Current Fifth Generation printer owners can get it for $99 for a limited time.

CES 2016