MakerBot Method 3D printers now open materials platforms after Experimental Extruder commercialisation

MakerBot has announced the commercial availability of its Experimental Extruder for the METHOD series of 3D printers as two new suppliers join its materials development programme.

The New York based desktop machine vendor says the Experimental Extruder, which has been developed via the MakerBot Labs platform, turns the METHOD into an open materials platform with users now able to process third-party materials.

Supplementing this greater access to materials is the partnership of BASF 3D Printing Solutions and LEHVOSS Group, who join KIMYA, Jabil Engineered Materials, Polymaker and Mitsubishi Chemical in supplying validated filaments through the development programme announced in November.

These developments follow the launch of the METHOD and METHOD X printing platforms in the last 18 months which intend to facilitate the printing of tooling components and end-use parts, as well as enabling rapid prototyping. Notably, the METHOD features a heated build chamber up to 100°C, while the METHOD X can also process Stratasys’ Soluble SR-30 material. These capabilities are said to allow stronger, more accurate parts with more complex geometries, while the Experimental Extruder can print higher performing materials thanks to a modified hot end, interchangeable nozzle assemblies, the ability to reach temperatures up to 300°C. 

Add to that the collaboration of ‘some of the best material companies in the industry’, MakerBot feels it now has all the tools to enable end use production parts on its METHOD series.

“[We’re allowing] engineers to explore new applications with these materials. We’ve seen an explosion of innovation in the filament market and we think the METHOD, with its industrial technology, with the heated chamber, with the soluble supports, offers new capabilities for some of the advanced engineering materials and changes the way filament manufacturers can think about 3D printing,” Johan-Till Broer, VP of MakerBot’s Product Development, told TCT. “Many of the engineers that adopt 3D printing, they’re early adopters, they’re at the forefront of pushing the limits within their organisation and they’re constantly looking for new applications to make an impact. Giving them access to more materials allows them to explore those new applications.”

While MakerBot Method users will be able to begin using their favoured filaments, its six materials partners will continue to add validated products to the MakerBot portfolio. Already, the programme has delivered more than half a dozen materials, with the Mitsubishi Chemical DURABIO, KIMYA PETG Carbon, KIMYA ABS Carbon, Jabil TPE SEBS 1300 95A, Jabil PETg ESD and Polymaker PolyMax PC filaments recommended for the Experimental Extruder. The addition of BASF and LEHVOSS is set to further accelerate the growth of this portfolio in the coming months and years.

“We are very excited to be part of the Materials Development Program for the MakerBotMETHOD with our high-performance LUVOCOM 3F Filaments,” commented Thomas Collet, Director of 3D Printing Materials and Marketing, LEHVOSS Group. “We believe that theMETHOD X with its 100°C heated chamber is a great platform for our dedicated materials, based on PET and high-temperature resistant PA, to enable end use parts that fulfil the highest requirements.”

“Close collaboration between leading filament suppliers and 3D printer manufacturers is crucial for growing and advancing the 3D printing market. Through this partnership,MakerBot and KIMYA provide an ideal combination of advanced engineering materials and an industrial 3D printing system that produces high quality parts. Together, we are expanding applications for 3D printing following the high requirements of manufacturers,” added Pierre-Antoine Pluvinage, Business Development Director at Kimya – Additive Manufacturing by ARMOR.

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