There are two ways a company can speed up their 3D printers: 1) Upgrade the hardware, including the processors and printing heads, or 2) Refine the software that powers the printer. As you’d expect, option #2 is the easiest and the most beneficial for customers, because they then don’t have to fork out for the new iteration of a product.
MakerBot nailed this recently with the launch of MakerBot Desktop 3.8, the upgrade to MakerBot Desktop 3.7. Their latest software offers print speeds up to 30% faster than the previous version allowing Makers, as they are affectionately known within the MakerBot ecosystem, to 3D print objects faster than ever before without sacrificing accuracy and quality.
The upgrade is available today, and it’s compatible with all MakerBot Replicator 3D printers.
Diamond infill and variable layer height
How MakerBot achieved this is simple; the team developed slicing algorithms to come up with a new print pattern that would allow the print heads to move faster during turns. The result is a new feature called diamond infill. The diamond infill pattern in version 3.8 moves the extruder faster during turns than other print patterns. Diamond infill’s extrusion process is also more consistent than other infill patterns, making prints stronger.
This feature works with the variable layer height feature introduced in version 3.7. Variable layer height lets you print internal layers at a thicker layer height than the outer layers. So ‘filling’ the print takes a lot less time and the more an object is printed at that thicker layer height, the faster objects can be printed. Combined, diamond infill and variable layer height are so efficient that they can print objects 30x faster than before – now that’s progress!
On MakerBot Desktop 3.8, Nadav Goshen, president of MakerBot, said “MakerBot’s latest software update allows our customers to turn their ideas into physical objects even faster, combining faster print speed with one click 3D printing. MakerBot’s leading 3D printing Ecosystem connects hardware with software and apps to provide a seamless 3D printing experience that is unmatched in the industry.”
Other features in MakerBot Desktop 3.8
Faster print speed and stronger, better prints aren’t the only reason you should upgrade to 3.8. The latest version also has a new and improved algorithm for print time estimation – so prints will finish when you expect them to. This wasn’t really a problem we encountered in version 3.7, but nether-the-less, it’s a nice additional improvement that’ll benefit the end user.
In addition to this feature, version 3.8 lets you click print before slicing has finished, so you don’t have to wait around for your design to be sent to print. You simply press go and everything is taken care of for you. This one-click printing feature is designed to help you get from design to print faster than ever before, and it will really come into its own in education and engineering environments where time is of the essence.
Download yours today
MakerBot recommends you upgrade your Firmware to version 1.8 before installing MakerBot Desktop 3.8, to take advantage of Wi-Fi communication and the ability for updates to perform over the air. Upgrading your Firmware to version 1.8 isn’t essential though, so it’s up to you. Click on the links below to upgrade your software or find out more.
MakerBot Desktop 3.8 (download), MakerBot (story source).