The Good The MakerBot Replicator is the most full-featured consumer 3D printer thanks to its dual-extruder print head and the largest print platform in its category.
The Bad 3D printing can be hard to get the hang of thanks to early-stage technology and fragmented, obtuse software, and $1,999 is a lot to pay to navigate that experience.
The Bottom Line For those willing to invest the time and the money, the MakerBot Replicator will provide the most powerful consumer 3D printing experience available.
Before you consider buying a MakerBot Replicator 3D printer, ask first why you might want it. Making plastic doodads can be fun, but the novelty will fade, particularly once you discover how challenging it can be to achieve certain prints. If you want a 3D printer to experiment with, or for a professional environment where color isn't crucial, the value of the $1,999 Replicator's dual-extruder head could also be hard to justify. A single-extrudercosts just $500.
And yet, if I weren't concerned with price, and if I had the time to master the software, the hardware, and the quirks of the printing material, I would buy the MakerBot Replicator. 3D printing offers raw, creative potential on a par with the early days of personal computing. With real advances like affordable dual-extrusion capability, the Replicator leads its market. You won't currently find a more powerful consumer-level 3D printer. Just know that getting the most out of the Replicator will involve a time commitment, and a willingness to endure repeated trial-and-error in order to print certain objects successfully.
A brief, brief overview of 3D printing: