Makerbot’s new Replicator Mini+ is a decent upgrade to its predecessor, but is it too little too late in the grand scheme of 3D printing? Find out in today’s Makerbot Replicator Mini+ review.
Makerbot Replicator Mini+ Review Basics
With a 4” x 5” x 4” build plate, this 3D printer is definitely miniature. The Makerbot Replicator Mini+’s compact dimensions measure 11.6”L x 13.8”W x 15”H, so it won’t take up too much space on your desk. For being so small, the Replicator Mini+ is pretty hefty, weighing in at over 20lbs. That’s in part due to its steel reinforcements, which help keep the machine stable while printing.
Like all Makebot models, the Replicator Mini+ only prints in resolutions up to 100 microns. Print speeds are pretty slow, too, especially considering this printer’s size. For any sort of accuracy, it takes about 2-hours to print a cubic inch. Print in PLA on the Replicator Mini+’s removable Grip Surface build plate, which helps filament stick to the bed without glue or tape. Connection options include USB or WiFi.
Makerbot Replicator Mini+ Review Pros
Despite its price tag, the Makerbot Replicator Mini+ caters to the average and even novice consumer with its myriad of user-friendly features. The most obvious of these features is the Makerbot mobile app. The app allows you to choose prints off Thingiverse, send jobs to your printer, and monitor progress. This is especially useful in conjunction with the VGA interior camera, which lets you follow your model’s progress.
Other helpful features include auto bed leveling, the Grip Surface removable build plate, and fast plug-n-play operation.
Makerbot Replicator Mini+ Review Cons
One the biggest problems with this printer is its PLA limitation. For the price of this printer, we expect it to at least reach ABS temperatures. Unfortunately, the Replicator Mini+ does not use a heated print bed, nor does it support higher temperatures required for more exotic filaments.
Subpar Print Quality
In addition to its inexplicable filament limitations, the Replicator Mini+ also fails to impress with print quality. Other printers in this price range, like the Lulzbot Mini 2, the Dremel Digilab 3D45, or Sindoh 3DWOX 1, produce much finer results.
What do these printers have that the Replicator Mini+ does not? First, they all print in higher resolutions, usually up to 50 microns. Next, while we commend Makerbot for their work in creating a more reliable extruder, the Smart Extruder+, we question its precision compared to, say, the Lulzbot Mini 2’s E3D Titan Aero extruder. Even at similar layer heights and resolutions, the Replicator Mini+ consistently produces worse results than its competitors, suffering from visible layering and failure to print fine details.
We’ve said it before in this review but we’ll say it again: this 3D printer is very expensive for what it offers. At this price, we’d expect to see top resolutions below 100 microns, quicker print speeds, and more filament options. Additionally, the Replicator Mini+ is missing basic features, like SD card connectivity or a proper on-board interface. Even the wireless card is out of date and can only connect to 2.4Ghz networks. Nothing about this printer justifies its price tag.
Makerbot Replicator Mini+ Review Verdict
While the Replicator Mini+ may be a considerable upgrade to its predecessor, the Replicator Mini, it falls short of its other competition. Frankly, this printer’s exorbitant price doesn’t match its specs, features, or precision. Worse, the build volume is ludicrously small, even for a mini 3D printer. You’re better off buying a Lulzbot Mini 2 if you’re willing to spend this much, or otherwise purchase a more affordable mini 3D printer like the da Vinci Jr 1.0 Pro. Either way, the Makerbot Replicator Mini+ isn’t worth your time.