MakerBot has leveraged parent company Stratasys’s intellectual property to bring a new desktop printer to the market that provides features of both desktop printers and industrial-scale 3D printers.

MakerBot introduced the Method desktop-manufacturing workstation in December 2018 for schools and small businesses. Capable of producing professional-grade functional prototypes, it addressed an accessibility barrier that kept many small players out of the 3D printing market.

Their newest desktop workstation, called Method X, prints Stratasys SR-30 soluble supports and an ABS material that is equivalent to injected-molded parts. Modified ABS resin systems, typically used in other desktop printers, incorporate plasticizers or modifiers, which can have a dramatic effect on stiffness, strength and heat resistance. This is not the case for the Method X ABS.

Method X incorporates a 100° C heated chamber along with extruders optimized for printing Stratasys SR-30 soluble supports and production-grade ABS materials. The SR-30 support material bonds well with ABS, eliminating issues with adhesion that can affect surface finish and dimensional accuracy, while the unmodified ABS filament provides for increased part durability.

MakerBot states that ABS end-use part and manufacturing tools produced by Method X withstand up to 15° C higher temperatures, are 26% more rigid and up to 12% stronger than modified ABS formulations. The manufacturing workstation also supports all materials available for the Method desktop printer. It addresses a market need for a 3D printer capable of producing production-grade ABS fixtures, gages, robot end-effectors and other automation components where dimensional accuracy is required and at a price point that makes it accessible.