Desktop 3D printing company MakerBot, a subsidiary of Stratasys, has released the new MakerBot LABS Experimental Extruder for its METHOD 3D printer. The new piece of hardware effectively transforms the METHOD machine into an open material platform, allowing users to work with a broader range of third-party materials.
The new MakerBot LABS Experimental Extruder was launched with the goal of encouraging makers and engineers to explore new 3D printing materials, pushing the boundaries of what they can produce using the METHOD platform. The METHOD 3D printer, launched in late 2018, is equipped with a heated build chamber with temperatures up to 100°C, and enables the production of stronger parts compared to a conventional desktop 3D printer. The dual extrusion system is also compatible with Stratasys and other soluble PVA materials, so users can print complex geometries with easily removable supports.
“By transforming METHOD into an open materials platform, we provide our users with an incredibly powerful tool to realize their ideas,” commented Johan-Till Broer, VP of Product Development at MakerBot. “Engineers can now print a growing number of advanced third-party materials on an industrial 3D printing platform, which was designed to produce stronger and more accurate parts than competing desktop 3D printers.
“We have partnered with some of the best material companies in the industry to rapidly expand and diversify the materials portfolio for METHOD. With our partners and customers, we will explore the boundaries of what’s possible with METHOD to unlock new applications.”
In November 2019, MakerBot announced the launch of the METHOD Materials Development Program. The program, which makes it possible for filament brands to qualify their materials for the MakerBot LABS extruder, has already been leveraged by leading materials suppliers including BASF 3D Printing Solutions, LEHVOSS Group, Jabil, Polymaker, Kimya and Mitsubishi Chemical.
From a hardware perspective, the new extruder is capable of reaching temperatures up to 300°C and is equipped with sensors that monitor temperature, materials and extruder jams. The extruder also comes with interchangeable nozzle assemblies and a modified hot end for a higher degree of customization options. Users can also benefit from expanded print settings in MakerBot Print software.
To date, MakerBot has released a list of materials that it recommends for its new LABS Experimental Extruder. It includes advanced materials and composite filaments such as Polymaker PolyMax PC, Jabil PETg ESD, Jabil TPE SEBS 1300 95A, Kimya ABS CARBON, Kimya PETG Carbon and Mitsubishi Chemical DURABIO.