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The Replicator arrives

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.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Sarah Tew/CNET
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Documentation

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.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Sarah Tew/CNET
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From the top

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.

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Extraction

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.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Sarah Tew/CNET
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What lies beneath?

A few accessory and support boxes on the bottom of the box.

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This stuff

A power supply, a USB cable, and tubing to guide the plastic filament.

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The key component

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.

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Plastic included

MakerBot graciously includes two spools of 1.75mm ABS plastic filament, one black, and translucent/natural. Each spool has 1 kilogram of printing material.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Sarah Tew/CNET
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The Replicator, exposed

The Replicator and all of its included hardware and accessories.

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Assembly, Step 1

First step to putting the printer together, anchor this cable to the base of the unit.

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Assembly, Step 2

Next, attach the extruder head to the mounting assembly, using two hex screws (screws and wrench included).

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Proper footing

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.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Sarah Tew/CNET
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Spool supports

The mounting hardware for the spools of plastic filament.

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Series of tubes, Part 1

Rubber tubes guide the filament from the spool to the extruder head.

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Pops right on

Mounting the spool is simple and self-explanatory.

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Series of tubes, Part 2

This shows the full filament pathway, from spool, to tubing, to extruder head.

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Ready to replicate

Next step, installing the ReplicatorG software on our computer.

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Side-by-side

The MakerBot Replicator next to the MakerGear Mosaic 3D printer. We built the smaller printer from a DIY kit back in January.

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