Educational settings have been taking advantage of the rapid growth of the 3D printing industry. With the opportunity to introduce the technology to students, more classrooms are obtaining desktop 3D printer kits like the MakerBot SKETCH. We are going to evaluate this printer based on its software, UI, and technical specifications. We will base our recommendation on user skill level and project needs.
MakerBot SKETCH 3D Printer
MakerBot SKETCH is a desktop FDM 3D printer. It is designed with a classroom setting in mind and comes with software to help instruct students. It is also great for teaching children in the home.
When compared to the FlashForge Adventurer 3, the SKETCH is slightly lacking. The Adventurer 3 requires no bed leveling. It also offers users the option to work with a much wider variety of filaments than the SKETCH does.
This printer boosts student creativity. It brings 3D printing to the classroom, blending hands-on training with beneficial classroom instruction.
The downside of this model is that users must have an active role in the printing process. They cannot just walk away and leave the printing to itself. Additionally, it is not capable of printing finely detailed prints.
The SKETCH comes with MakerBot Certification. This program offers more than 15 hours of online learning materials for students. MakerBot instructors have also collaborated to design interactive content like projects, quizzes, and tests.
MakerBot CloudPrint offers users access to any MakerBot 3D printer, regardless of its location. All features of the MakerBot Print software are now available online.
The SKETCH offers an easy-to-use touchscreen UI on the right side of the printer’s body. Users can start, monitor, and pause their prints using this interface. One-click on this UI means turning off or on a particular function on MakerBot SKETCH.
This printer comes with a heated, flexible build plate. This means users will get greater adhesion when printing because of the heated bed. Additionally, because of its flexibility, the prints will easily come off once completed.
Covered Print Chamber and Particulate Filter
The printer comes with a fully enclosed chamber. This protects all young, inquisitive users from the moving parts inside the build area. Users will be able to place this printer anywhere and not have to worry about anything interrupting their prints. A particulate filter also comes installed to ensure peace of mind.
From box to first print, users will only need 15 minutes. The user manual is full of great information and is very helpful. After reading the manual, users will need to level the bed and get to printing.
The build area is 150 x 150 x 150 mm. Layer resolution is 100 – 400 microns with the print resolution being 200 microns.
It works with MakerBot PLA and Touch with 1.75 mm diameters. The nozzle diameter is 0.4 mm.
Output files are in MAKERBOT format. Acceptable input file types are MAKERBOT, OBJ, IAM, IPT, PRT, STL, SLDPRT, CATPart, SLDASM, ASM, PAR, CATProduct, STP, IGS, and WRL. The printer works with both Mac and Windows operating systems.
While the features of the MakerBot SKETCH are not stellar, they are excellent for a classroom setting. They would not be ideal for anyone who is an advanced maker or who needs finely detailed prints. Its enclosed build area makes it safe for young users. We recommend this for classrooms as well as for beginners.