Compatible in what way?
Years ago I ran a Stratasys FDM, and the way it worked with Pro is you export your model as STL, and then import it into the software (I think it was called Quick Slice?) and the software generated the path and sent it to the printer.
It appears Makerware is similar.
We have a replicator 2x and Creo Parametric 2.0. Creo makes the .stl file that will go directly into the Makerware software provided by Makerbot. This is smooth and works well.
I would not recommend the replicator 2x machine that we have, the end parts do not come out dimensionally correct. We generally have to print, measure, scale and print a 2nd time to get it right. I think the replicator 2 you mentioned will be a better machine as it prints PLA which is more stable.
We have two Replicator 2X with the dual print head. We have had many problems getting it to print well, mostly with getting the raft and support to separate from the part cleanly. The part surface where the raft & support were attached had very poor surface quality.
We even bought a service contract and tech support has been pretty bad. They don't seem to know these new machines very well at all and haven't been able to help us solve the problems.
Antonius Dirriwachter wrote:
Great discussion. Almost makes me want to divert my maintenance funds to a printer
Agreed, I started looking at them again a few months ago, but ended up having to invest in more software.
Interestingly, monoprice & newegg even sell PLA filament now.
The one I ran back in the day had 2 heads, a material head and a support head and it was some work to clean up the parts after you made them. Stratasys came out with the water soluable support after that (so you just threw the parts in a bucket of water after printing) and I am not sure if that is even in use today.
Just sold my old FDM3000 a few months ago. Great machine but it was very pricey at the time. Miss the hum of that machine. Sounded like Star Wars in my "office" (old bedroom) of my house.
That FDM3000 had some pretty decent software with it, didn't it?
It would let you hollow out parts and create scaffolding mesh? ...and control the skin thickness... etc.
Does the makerbot s/w do any of those things?
Yes the software seems to be a strong point on the makerbot. There are independant options for raft and support. The support can be printed out of disolvable material (on the 2X machine that has 2 head printing). The thing to keep in mind is these are $2500 machines. They are still hobiest machines that some of us are trying to use for engineering purposes. They are not up to the quality of the the high end machines. I do see that there are some new Makerbot machines due for release this spring which are commanding a high sales price, but still less than the"industrial" machines. Perhaps these will reduce the gap in print quality.
The software was good. And yes you could vary the wall thickness of the prototype. The 3000 had a 10" x 10" x 14" build area. The problem was nesting parts. The software was not good with that, so I typically nested parts in another software and then ran the Stratasys software on the merged file. Very high level of detail led to very long run times. To bad it couldn't have had three heads depending upon the level of detail needed in the various areas of the part.
I did have the water soluable suppport material, but it wasn't that simple. You needed an ultrasonic bath with the "soap/conditioner" that helped dissolve the material.
If you did a "hollow" model where the walls were thinned to reduce time, chances are you'd end up with water in the part that was hard to get out.