The MakerBot Replicator 2 3D printer does not come with a heated build plate, but you can add one – either a readily available unofficial upgrade or make a DIY one. The control board of the Replicator 2 does have the needed support to control a HBP if you install one and decide to let the printer control it based on your settings. You would of course need to replace the power adapter with a more powerful one that will be able to handle the extra power requirements of the heated build plate…

The more important question however is how do you use the HBP after you install it on the Replicator 2 with the MakerBot Desktop software (previously called MakerBot MakerWare). What you can do to make the heated build plate is to switch the software to the Makerbot Replicator 2x profile instead of the Replicator 2 that you should normally be using. You can do that from the MakerBot Desktop going to Devices – Select Type of Device – Makerbot Replicator 2x. It however comes with some drawbacks such as slightly reduced build plate size in the software, though your heated build platform may actually be smaller compared to the original space available prior to that.

You need to go through the Print Settings panel in order to get access to the settings for 3D printing and under the Temperature tab you will see the option to enable the option called Heat the Build Plate and set the Build Plate temperature to the desired value. Also since the Replicator 2 has only one extruder, you need to set the temperature for the extruder in the Right Extruder panel.

On the MakerBot Replicator 2 3D printer you also need to do something in order to activate the support for the Heated Build Plate. You need to go into the following menu Info and settings – General Settings – Set to Yes to the Heated Plate option. Also in order to properly use the Preheat setting from the 3D printer you should also go into the menu Info and settings – Preheat Settings – Set the desired temperature for Preheat under Platform.


Today our upgrades for the MakerBot Replicator 2 3D printer that we are using made by BC Technological Solutions have arrived and we are already eager to start installing them. We’ve had to wait a bit for these to arrive when we have ordered them earlier this year, but it was well worth the wait – the shipping should be faster at the moment once you make an order. We have ordered both the Aluminum Arm Upgrade and the Removable Heated Build Plate Upgrade that the company makes for Replicator 2 and Replicator 2X owners and although a bit expensive, these are probably the best you can get if you need to stiffen the build plate and add heated build plate to your device.

We have already installed Aluminum Arm Stiffeners from Performance 3-D on our Replicator 2 3D printer and they are working quite well. The Aluminum Arm Upgrade from BC Technological Solutions however is much more advanced product as it is not in the form of an addon to your existing plastic arms, but completely replaces them. Another important advantage is that with the new metal arms for the build plate are designed in a way to accommodate linear bearings for the Z axis of the 3D printer. We have already made the Upgrade to Linear Bearings on our MakerBot Replicator 2 earlier this year for the X and Y axes. While doing the upgrade however we have discovered that with the stock plastic arms there are no suitable linear bearings that we can use for the Z axis, one of the reasons we actually decided to get the arms upgrade from the BC Technological Solutions.

By design the Replicator 2 3D printer from MakerBot is not designed to be used with ABS filaments as it does not come with a heated build platform and while we do not miss this feature much as we do not often need to resort to ABS printing. The problem is that there are already quite a few interesting experimental filaments that also require a heated build platform, so we have decided to add that functionality as well. Looking over various options raging from cheap DIY solutions to the more serious upgrades kits available we again ended up going for the Removable Heated Build Plate Upgrade from BC Technological Solutions as the best choice that not only adds heated build platform, but also includes some useful features such as the removable build plate attached with magnets. The only drawback with this upgrade is that it does nto include all the required things for installation on a Replicator 2 – you still need to order a 24V, 9.2A power adapter separately as the standard power adapter of the printer is not able to handle the increased power usage when using the heater. So you need to take into account the additional cost for a power adapter such as the 220W Meanwell GS220A24-R7B adapter that we have also ordered separately and are currently waiting it to arrive any moment now to start installing the upgrades.

For more details about the Replicator 2 upgrades offered by BC Technological Solutions…


We’ve had a few rolls of ColorFabb PLA/PHA filament for a while already, but have not used them yet, so we’ve decided it is time to give them a try and see how well they will compare to other PLA filament we’ve tried already. More specifically we’ve started our tests with Shining Silver, a quite nice looking color for a filament, and on the box of the filament we’ve noted a recommended printing temperature of 190-210 degrees Celsius. On the ColorFabb website however the advised 3D printing temperature for their PLA/PHA filament is 195-220C. According to the manufacturer the filament should print well with speeds between 40 and 100 mm/s and if you have a heated build platform to set it to 50-60C, though no heated build platform is required for using this material. The Glass Transition Temperature is 55C, pretty much like with other PLA filament – the temperature after which the material starts to get softer.


So up to testing, we are using a MakerBot Replicator 2 3D printer and are currently printing on BuildTak surface covering a glass build plate. We’ve had no issues with the material sticking well to the surface and minimal warping around some of the edges only when printing very large objects causing them to not stick well to the surface. You can see the results from printing with different temperatures at 90 mm/s extrusion speed (the standard one used by the Replicator 2) and with 0.2mm layer thickness. At 190 degrees Celsius we were not able to get a finished print as the filament was jamming the extruder, apparently not being able to melt well enough for the extrusion speed we are using, with slower extrusion speed it is possible that you may get good prints. For normal printing speed we’ve seen that at 230C, the temperature we normally use with PLA filament, we were getting the best results. Going up to 250 degrees Celsius we’ve seen degradation in the quality of the 3D printer part, though it was still printed. So it seems that the best printing quality we are getting is in the range of 210-230 degrees Celsius, though with different printers this value may vary a bit. In general we are quite happy with the quality and easy of use of the ColorFabb PLA/PHA filament and we are going to be getting more of it to test and use in our printing needs.