Asked — Edited

Maker Bot Replicator2 X

I have an opportunity to obtain an makerbot 3d printer. I have zero experience with any type of 3d printing whatsoever. Does this tool come with software to design the piece or does it require a program like autocad 3d or solidworks to design and then convert to machine code? Thanks for any help!



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Generally I use Solidworks to create the 3D model. I then have to use MakerBot Desktop Software to import the model from an STL file. Finally, within makerbot's software you position the model in the print space correctly and then export the print.

I don't think makerbot gives you software to create 3D models with but I can be mistaken.


You would use something else to create the model. There are many 3d apps out there you can use. Some are more robust and complicated than others. Just depends on what you are comfortable with when you use it and what features you are looking for.


I am not sure the MakerBot 2x is a good starter 3d printer... It is listed as an "experimental" printer ... I would assume for advanced uses... I just bought an UP! Plus 2 3d printer and it is very good for the first time user.... I also have my eye on a Flashforge Creator Pro which I may break my bank and buy as well....


The FlashForge Creator Pro is a Makerbot 2x clone. If you do go that route, check out this link for some performance improvement ideas.

FlashForge mods

The FlashForge Dreamer looks good from the videos posted.

Also, if you are looking at that, there is a black friday deal from Micro Center for a flashforge creator clone that is selling for $800.

Flashforge Clone


@d.cochran.... thanks for the clarification.... I am already checking out that link about the Flashforge you posted.... :)


The reason I am looking at the Flashforge Pro is I can get one for $1500 CAD... $750 cheaper than the Makerbot Replicator 2 and $1200 cheaper than the Replicator 2x (here in Canada)....


Agree completely. I can buy 3 of these for the cost of a makerbot and it is based on their reliable model from makerbot that EZ-Robot has 5 of. I wish the makerbot 5th gen was all it was supposed to be and I would go ahead and get one of them, but the smart extruder is giving them fits.


Makerware runs for flashforge and other clones also. Cura is also simple and easy to use. All of them are really simple. Slicing correct for your printer is the really important though and makerware does this based on specific makerbots. Cura has multiple presets but is designed first for ultimaker.

I really wish makerbot still sold the 2 but at reasonable prices. They pushed their last product to market too quickly. Corporate buyouts often have these results though. This has defiantly hurt makerbot in the short term. I hope there is a long term benefit to them though.


To clarify I can Just use Makerware with the Flashforge Pro or am I stuck using ReplicatorG?


I'll do more research and provide a link for my info. I have read that you can use makerware. I just woke up so give me a bit and I will find it.


I have a Makerbot Replicator 2 now for almost a year with about 1500 hours printing with no issues.

Do not go to small because it really limits what you can print.... in fact I wish I had a larger printer sometimes.


With the Makerbot 2, although a great printer can only print in PLA... I prefer abs for strength and durability....


I dont think the 2 has a heated build plate. This is required for ABS or there will be extensive warping if you get the part to stick to the build plate. The print heads can do it, but not the plate.

The 2X added the heated build plate, a second extruder and hotend and the plastic enclosure pieces to keep temp fluctuations from affecting the print. Most later clones like the flash forge have the features of the 2X.


instead of spending a lot of money on solidworks or acad try SCAD first. its a free program that works well for people just getting into 3d printing. Neil


I've messed with a few of the free 3d modeling programs and I'd recommend getting BLENDER at It's a full blown 3d program that can even do animations. It's totally free. It also imports a lot of file formats that the other free ones don't. 3dDesign is a lot easier to use but, has much more limited functionality.

That being said, blender is a full blown 3d program so, be prepared to watch hours of you tube tutorials. It's not super bad if you've messed with 3dDesign or google sketchup. it's a little easier to figure out just because you're familiar with the concepts. Messing with 3d programs is just a little different than most programs. There's lots of keyboard controls. It's worth it though, even if it's to learn to be able to model out some basic shapes.

You'll still have to export the file out to .stl then slice and print it with other software. That's just what I've learned in my 3d adventures. I hope it helps.


@Antron007 ... Any recommendations for just creating .stl files? I wouldn't need 90% of what Blender offers... I just want to create and print basic 3d .STL files....


Autodesk 123Design (the program I meant to mention previously. sorry for the wrong name.) is fairly easy to get use to and make shapes. It will export out .stl's.

It was the one I was using the most. I only really started using blender because I wanted to mess with "engraving" a logo into an object so I needed to use specific fonts that I couldn't use in 123. But It's a great program for the most part.

To be honest and fair, I'm by no means an expert. I'm just fumbling through when it comes to 3d design.

What ever route anybody goes, I highly recommend watching tutorial vids on you tube or something. I've had a computer since 1986. I also have done just about anything you can do with a computer at least once and using these 3d programs is just different from anything I've ever messed with.

Sorry to be so long winded. In short, I think 123Design will do you right @RichardR.


@Antron007... Well you know more than me.... thanks dude... :)