Brooklyn 3D-printing company MakerBot today released the newest version of its Smart Extruder, arguably the most crucial component of the company’s desktop 3D printers—as well as the component that landed the company in the courtroom last summer.
The extruder is a generic part found on numerous desktop 3D printers. It’s what dispenses the plastic filament used in the creation of 3D prints. An extruder that clogs or even wears out quite easily can leave consumers in a lurch. So when MakerBot first was released with its Smart Extruder, the company appeared to have created a simple fix: Not only was the piece supposedly simpler to use, it was also swappable, meaning only the extruder needed to be replaced.
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