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HolidayBuyer's Guide

The Replicator arrives

Documentation

From the top

Extraction

What lies beneath?

This stuff

The key component

Plastic included

The Replicator, exposed

Assembly, Step 1

Assembly, Step 2

Proper footing

Spool supports

Series of tubes, Part 1

Pops right on

Series of tubes, Part 2

Ready to replicate

Side-by-side

The Replicator ships in a box about the size of a large air conditioner. It fit in the trunk of a Nissan Versa hatchback, although I had to lower the rear passenger seat.
Caption by / Photo by Sarah Tew/CNET
The manual for the Replicator only covers hardware setup. The instructions are easy enough, but to learn about the software installation and using the device, the guide refers you to the MakerBot Web site.
Caption by / Photo by Sarah Tew/CNET
Here I've removed cardboard from the top and from around the sides of the printer. Despite cardboard-only packing material, the package feels secure.
Caption by / Photo by Sarah Tew/CNET
MakerBot supports the interior of the printer with cardboard spacers and boxes of plastic filament. It's not an Apple packing job, but it's about as smooth and efficient as it can be given the design of its contents.
Caption by / Photo by Sarah Tew/CNET
A few accessory and support boxes on the bottom of the box.
Caption by / Photo by Sarah Tew/CNET
A power supply, a USB cable, and tubing to guide the plastic filament.
Caption by / Photo by Sarah Tew/CNET
This is the print head with two extruders. It's this piece that gives the Replicator its unique ability to print objects in two different colors.
Caption by / Photo by Sarah Tew/CNET
MakerBot graciously includes two spools of 1.75mm ABS plastic filament, one black, and translucent/natural. Each spool has 1 kilogram of printing material.
Caption by / Photo by Sarah Tew/CNET
The Replicator and all of its included hardware and accessories.
Caption by / Photo by Sarah Tew/CNET
First step to putting the printer together, anchor this cable to the base of the unit.
Caption by / Photo by Sarah Tew/CNET
Next, attach the extruder head to the mounting assembly, using two hex screws (screws and wrench included).
Caption by / Photo by Sarah Tew/CNET
The Replicator's only janky-feeling part so far: four pieces of cut rubber tubing. You slide these on the Replicator to keep it from wobbling while it prints.
Caption by / Photo by Sarah Tew/CNET
The mounting hardware for the spools of plastic filament.
Caption by / Photo by Sarah Tew/CNET
Rubber tubes guide the filament from the spool to the extruder head.
Caption by / Photo by Sarah Tew/CNET
Mounting the spool is simple and self-explanatory.
Caption by / Photo by Sarah Tew/CNET
This shows the full filament pathway, from spool, to tubing, to extruder head.
Caption by / Photo by Sarah Tew/CNET
Next step, installing the ReplicatorG software on our computer.
Caption by / Photo by Sarah Tew/CNET
The MakerBot Replicator next to the MakerGear Mosaic 3D printer. We built the smaller printer from a DIY kit back in January.
Caption by / Photo by Sarah Tew/CNET
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