The Makerbot Question: Who should or shouldn’t use it?

Published 05/18/2015

Gemma Downey | 3D Printing Consultant

As a 3D printer reseller, as well as prototyping service, R&D Technologies interacts with people from all kinds of business: from inventors to doctors, from engineering students to presidents of large corporations, everyone may have a need for 3D printing, but to different extents.


Here is a brief background on Makerbot: in 2013, Stratasys purchased Makerbot Corporation. I actually started working with R&D Technologies at the same time of the acquisition. Makerbots run from $1,300-$6,000. As a Stratasys reseller and service bureau, Makerbot sent our company the Makerbot Replicator 2 for our engineers to play with. It has been both a fun and functional tool for us. I have a 3D printed horse (my favorite animal) on my desk. We have Makerbot-printed Christmas ornaments on the building’s Christmas tree. One of my coworkers printed a fixture for his car mirror that saved him from needing to purchase an entire new mirror assembly.

I’m going to cut to the chase and say that:

  1. Makerbots are great if you are willing to tinker.
  2. Makerbots are good for a low-end budget machine.
  3. Makerbots are not good for of concept prototypes.
  4. Makerbots are not a tool to base your business on.

If you know me well, you know I have an open mind and am willing to see both sides of the story: I will examine the good and the bad. You get what you pay for with Makerbot. I’ve found that younger engineering classes want to take the time to tinker and adjust settings and make the Makerbot work the way they want it to. Stratasys systems are accurate, repeatable, reliable and well-supported. If you buy a 3D printer through Stratasys and it breaks down, we build your parts at the cost of materials while our technicians work to get you back up and running. This ensures that you’re never really down and your design and manufacturing process is unaffected.

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