3D Printed MakerBot first print. Source: Ariwasabi/Shutterstock.com
3D Printed MakerBot first print. Source: Ariwasabi/Shutterstock.com

Once setup is complete, you’re ready to do your first print and start using your 3D printer. The MakerBot will ask you to insert the SD card. When we received our MakerBot Replicator 2 the SD card was already inserted into the slot.

The SD card is preloaded with a number of items including Chain Links, Nut and Bolt, Comb, Mr Jaws and Stretchlet. Selecting one of the preloaded items is a great way to get up and running fast and see the MakerBot in action. We chose Mr Jaws as our first print because it is simple. You can view images of the preloaded items in the manual.

MakerBot Replicator 2 Print Times

We printed all of the preloaded items. We found each 3D project took significantly less time to print than what is noted in the manual. This was a nice surprise. Our recorded times are:

Chain Links: 12 minutes

Comb: 15 minutes

Mr Jaws 19 minutes

Nut and Bolt Set: 27 minutes

Stretchlet: 16 minutes

These times don’t include the aprox. 2 minutes for the extruder to heat.

Printing a preloaded project is easy. Choose “Build from SD” then choose the file by pushing the up/down buttons and then the center button (M). The extruder takes just under 2 minutes to heat. During this time we noticed the LED lights had a red hue. Once the MakerBot starts to print, the hue changes to white-blue. The LED lights are a nice effect and add to the overall 3D printing experience.

While printing, there is a subtle smell similar to melting plastic. It wasn’t strong and didn’t require open windows or high ventilation, but it is there. We used a PLA filament. As far as noise, the MakerBot isn’t much louder than a normal inkjet printer with the addition of the cooling fan.

The LCD display shows the percentage of the project that is done and the extruder temperature. Like we previously mentioned, the actual build time for Mr Jaws was quite a bit less than is listed in the manual. Mr Jaws finished in 19 minutes vs. 25 minutes. Once complete, the LCD screen displayed, “Build Finished” and you will hear the build finished tone.

Mr Jaws was a bit difficult to remove from build plate. MakerBot recommends using a craft spatula. We took the build plate out of the printer, and while holding the plate, used a twisting motion and the project popped off. The MakerBot Replicator 2 comes with some blue painter’s tape sheets to cover the build plate which also prevents projects from sticking too much. It’s worth experimenting with the painters tape. We found the painters tape worked well with some projects, like the chain and stretchlet, but didn’t work well with other projects. It didn’t allow the project to sufficiently stick to the build plate. There’s a fine line between too much stick and not enough stick.   

How Much Filament did my MakerBot Project Use?

You may be curious to know how much filament you used on a print or how much a product costs to make. A MakerBot spool of filament is 1 kg and translates directly to product; 1 gram of filament equals 1 gram of product.

Here’s a formula to calculate how much filament you used in your product:

a/10 = % of a spool of filament used

Here’s the formula to calculate the cost of your project:

a(b/1000) = $Cost of product

Where a = the weight of your product in grams. And b equals the price of a spool of filament.

Mr Jaws weighs 4 grams and we paid $48 for a spool of filament. We calculated Mr Jaws used .4% of a spool of filament and cost about $.19 to build. This means, if you wanted, you could print a Mr Jaws for 250 of your closest friends and family with one spool of filament. 

In conclusion, our Mr Jaws and subsequent preloaded prints turned out great. We didn’t run into any problems and have been impressed with the precision of the MakerBot Replicator 2. Of the preloaded projects, the Chain Link and the Nut and Bolt are our favorites. The fact that the nut and bolt work and the chain prints in one piece is remarkable.

Now that you’ve explored the preloaded projects, you’re probably ready to explore other projects online or design and print your own project.