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The Makerbot company has launched a new extruder to the market returning to its origins and betting on open source. Their new Experimental Extruder allows you to use third-party filament and is designed for advanced users who wish to experiment with all types of filaments.

The Experimental extruder allows the use of interchangeable nozzles available in different diameters (0.4 mm to 0.8 mm). Also manufactured in brass or steel which allows you to set up an infinity of materials.

The launching of this extruder brings improvements into the lamination software, allowing the user to create customized profiles for the filaments. This way you can use different temperature and resolution parameters depending on the material used.

If you need more information about this new extruder you can visit the Makerbot Labs community.


In Smart Materials 3D we have tested our Smartfil® materials with this new extruder obtaining high quality results. The printer model used is the Replicator+ this printer does not have hot bed, limiting the number of materials to PLA based.

Anyway, we have a large number of filaments for this printer model, which together with the new extruder will make you get the most out of your projects. We must indicate that the coil format of our filaments is not compatible with the housing for the Makerbot coils, this is not a big problem since there are innumerable supports in Thingiverse to be able to feed the printer externally.

Smartfil® PLA

In the tests carried out with PLA Aubergine colour, the results in the printing have been very satisfactory. The control parameters are very easy to configure getting a good quality print.

For the adhesion of the material to the bed it was not necessary to use any type of product, since the base made of Buildtak works perfectly.

With a standard configuration and a layer resolution of 0.2 mm we get a very good definition making the most complex details without difficulty. The PLA Smartfil® can be used for all types of applications, being available in a large number of colors.

Smartfil® EP

Another material we have tested on the Replicator + is Smarfil® EP. This material based on PLA incorporates high mineral load. This gives it the ability to be easily machined to get completely smooth surfaces. Smarfil® EP is especially suitable for architecture and art, the surface finish is similar to ceramic, can be painted easily.

In addition Smartfil® EP is very easy-to-use, through the Makerbot software we were able to perfectly configure the retraction parameters. This allowed us to achieve a great finish in areas where the extruder makes many jumps from point to point if leaving threads or stringing in the print.



For making pieces where performance is required above the standard PLA, we have two types of PLA developed by Natureworks specially indicated for 3D printing.

Smartfil® PLA 3D850 with high crystallization speed allows to make pieces of great complexity getting complex details and improving the bridge in 3D printing parts.

On the other hand, Smartfil® PLA 3D870 is especially indicated where higher performance than regular PLA is required without giving up its ease of use. In particular, we can achieve mechanical properties similar to ABS and increase its thermal resistance after post-processing or annealing.

Both materials were easily printed with the new Makerbot extruder. We are very satisfied with the quality provided by the extruder and the printer. We hope in the future to be able to test its older sister Replicator Z18 and to be able to test the rest of the materials of the Smartfil range.

New section: 3D Printers Lab

With testing the Experimental Extruder, we open a new section on our website where we will upload the standard configuration of our filaments for different printer models. We hope to incorporate more models soon, in order to offer more help to our users.

You can also get the profiles configuration by accessing the Makerbot Labs group in Thingiverse

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