MakerBot vs Dremel: Which is the Better 3D Printer to Buy?

If you’re struggling to decide between a Makerbot vs. Dremel for your next 3D printer purchase, this guide is the one for you.

Below, we’ve taken each brand’s signature product -the Makerbot Replicator and Dremel Digilab 3D45 and put them head-to-head to determine which one is truly the best 3D printer to spend your hard-earned money on.

Makerbot Replicator vs. Dremel 3D45: Technical Overview

Makerbot Replicator Dremel Digilab 3D45
Print Technology Fused Deposition Modelling (FDM) Fused Deposition Modelling (FDM)
Build Volume 11.6″ x 7.6″ x 6.5″ 10″ x 6″ x 6.7″
Layer Resolution XY Axis: 100 – 400 micron / 0.1 – 0.4mm Z Axis: 300 micron / 0.3mm
Filament Compatibility PLA (1.75mm) Nylon/PLA/ECO-ABS (1.75mm)
Extruder Nozzles 1 x 0.4mm 1 x 0.4mm
Build Area Open Closed
Build Plate Temperature N/A 212°F / 100°C
Monitoring Camera HD Camera HD Camera

Makerbot vs. Dremel: Head-to-Head Comparison

At first glance, both the Makerbot Replicator and Dremel 3D45 seem to have a lot in common.

Both are priced at the higher end of the scale, clocking in at prices much higher than the likes of budget-friendly models such as the Creality Ender.

Both are popular choices for classroom environments and with makers looking to take their passion for printing beyond the hobby stage, and both employ Fused Deposition Modelling (FDM), a form of 3D printing that produces precise, consistent models known for their durability and stability.

Keeping all that in mind, it’s no wonder that so many makers struggle to decide which one of the two is the best 3D printer for them. That said, there are enough subtle differences between the two that, if you look a little closer at them, may well help make your mind up once and for all.

So let’s take that closer look right now, shall we?

Printer Design (Open vs Enclosed)

MakerBot - B2SCHOOLKIT Replicator+ 3D Printer Educator Edition with PLA Filament, Lesson Plans and Certification Professional Development Course
MakerBot open design

The first and most obvious difference between the Makerbot and Dremel printers is their design.

The former boasts an open design with all three sides exposed, whereas the latter keeps those sides fully closed and protected.

How this affects your decision when it comes to buying one of these printers will depend on what’s important for you.

Enclosed 3D printers certainly have their benefits as they effectively ensure fumes don’t escape from the printer and make the whole process much quieter. But, more importantly, keeping your model enclosed also limits fluctuations in the temperature, thus reducing the risk of some part of your print going awry.

On the downside, if there is a problem inside the printer, getting in there and fixing it is typically much more of a challenge if you have to take the enclosure off first.

Print Capacity

In fairness, there isn’t a great deal of difference in the size with these two printers, though the Makerbot Replicator is slightly larger of the two.

This one measures 11.6″ x 7.6″ x 6.5″ compared to the Dremel 3D45’s 10″ x 6″ x 6.7″.

While that may not make a remarkable difference for every user, if you do need as much capacity for building as possible, the Makerbot is clearly the way to go here.

Printing Materials

The last round may have been too close to call, but here’s one area where the Dremel Digilab 3D45 really seems to come into its own as it’s capable of printing with far more different types of printing material.

Dremel DF45-NYP-B Nylon 3D Printer Filament, 1.75 mm Diameter, Black
Dremel offers a wider range of filament compatibility

Polylactic Acid (PLA), nylon, Polyethylene terephthalate glycol (PETG), and an ABS-like thermoplastic known as ECO-ABS can all be used safely and effectively with the Dremel, giving you much more freedom and flexibility to work with different filaments depending on the nature of your project.

The Makerbot Replicator, on the other hand, is only compatible with PLA filaments. Sure, that may be off-putting to some. Still, if you were only planning to work with PLA in the first place, you might actually find the Replicator the better option as it’s also somewhat less expensive than the 3D45, ultimately meaning you only end up paying for what you really need.

Print Bed

Yet again, the Dremel outdoes the Makerbot here.

Since it’s built to handle a wider range of 3D printing materials, the 3D45’s set-up includes a heated bed which can be raised right the way up to 100°C to help prevent warping, along with a detachable glass plate.

Dremel DigiLab 3D45 Award Winning 3D Printer w/extra supplies, 30 Lesson plans, Professional Development course, PC & MAC OS, Chromebook, iPad Compatible, Built-in HD Camera, Heated Build Plate
The 3D45 includes a removal glass build plate that can be heated up to 100°C

The Makerbot Replicator, on the other hand, simply doesn’t feature a heated bed at all, though since it’s only designed to work with PLA, this may not be an issue.

Extruders

The extruder is an essential component of any printer, and both brands have done an exceptional job of it here, albeit in very different ways.

The Dremel 3D45 proudly boasts a clog-resistant direct-drive extruder made from robust metal, which is capable of being heated to as high as 280°C to ensure maximum flexibility when working with different print materials.

Meanwhile, the Makerbot Replicator comes with the brand’s own patented Smart Extruder+, which comes highly praised for the way it allows you to effortlessly troubleshoot problems without the need to remove the extruder altogether.

MakerBot Smart Extruder+ (for Replicator & Mini) MP07325
MakerBot Smart Extruder+

Both models offer out-of-filament detection which notifies you when you need to replace the filament and then picks right back up where you left off, though the Smart Extruder does a slightly better job at detecting jams and pausing projects until you can fix up the issue.

Related: See how the MakerBot Replicator stacks up against the popular Flashforge Creator Pro

Software and Hardware Compatibility

Both the Makerbot and Dremel are pretty much neck-and-neck when it comes to the kind of 3D file types you can use with them.

Both printers support .obj and .stl, though the Makerbot also supports its own proprietary .makerbot files.

The Replicator continues to triumph in the software compartment, particularly with regards to compatibility.

Both models include software that functions flawlessly on machines running either any version of Windows from Windows 7 on, or any version of macOS X from version 10.9 and up.

However, the Replicator’s software can also be used as an app on either Android or iOS devices, meaning you can do everything from a tablet and avoid the need to be chained to a desktop machine while working.

Finally, in terms of ease-of-use and functionality, both brand’s in-built software is relatively uncomplicated and, unless you’re using a 3D printer for the very first time (in which case you might be better off with one of the best 3D printers under $300 instead), then you’ll be able to get to grips with the software in no time.

Print Performance

So far, so good then, but perhaps the real question most makers will want to know is simply this:

Which 3D printer performs best?

Once again, this is an area that’s almost -though not entirely- too close to call.

The Makerbot Replicator is a machine built for those with a need for speed.

The printer is well-known for delivering remarkably fast prints that don’t compromise on professional-standard quality, while the automatic bed leveling feature ensures the printing bed remains flat to ensure a good degree of precision and accuracy.

However, the lack of an enclosed structure means that you’ll likely need to add a raft (essentially a collection of plastic layers) to help prevent warping.

On the other hand, the Dremel 3D45 may not be quite as quick as its rival but does tend to triumph in terms of precision and consistency, meaning that models printed with this machine are more likely to look exactly how they’re supposed to look each and every time.

Whether this is down entirely to the advanced 9-point automatic leveling, or whether it’s a combination of leveling, the fully enclosed housing, or Dremel’s all-around engineering standards is a question that remains unanswered.

One thing we do know for sure, though, for conciseness and consistency, the Dremel wins. For pure speed alone, the Makerbot takes the round hands-down.

Classroom Suitability

While there’s certainly nothing to say that Makerbot and Dremel printers need to be used exclusively in a classroom environment, they are so well-known as popular choices for educational institutions that we’d be remiss if we didn’t talk about what makes them such a good choice for teaching students about the joys of 3D printing.

Of course, the real reason educators everywhere seem to prefer these two models is simply that they offer all the ease-of-use of an entry-level hobbyist printer with the performance and features of a top-grade professional printer.

The Dremel 3D45 features a handy 4.5″ full-color touch screen which is highly intuitive and easy to navigate, meaning students and teachers alike will have no problem accessing various functions and settings.

It also features its own built-in 720dp camera that you can watch remotely, meaning teachers can start a project and stream its progress on a computer screen or monitor while teaching.

The Makerbot likewise features a 640 x 480 resolution camera with streaming capabilities, though the LCD is nowhere near user-friendly as the 3D45.

Working in Makerbot’s favor though is its integrated CAD support which lets users import native CAD files and get print projects started from directly within CAD within just two clicks of a mouse.

We’re also big fans of the Replicator’s automation features.

The extruder’s smart sensors combine with a high-quality automated Z-homing build-plate, onboard WiFi connectivity, and the aforementioned streaming camera to simplify and streamline the printing process.

This ultimately means that students get to spend more time working on their designs than handling the printing process.

Finally, it’s also worth pointing out that Makerbot claims that theirs is the only 3D printer tested and approved by the National Institute for Occupational Safety & Health (NIOSH) in classroom environments, a point which may win favor with budget-holders when it comes time to plead your case.

Makerbot vs. Dremel: Frequently Asked Questions

Is the Makerbot Replicator worth it?

The Makerbot Replicator performs well, prints fast, is easy to use, and features a large build area, meaning it’s well worth the extra cost in our estimation.

How do you attach a Dremel to a Cura?

A third-party extension simply called “Dremel-Plugin” is available from the Cura marketplace, allowing you to export to Dremel’s .g3drem file format.

What filament does the Dremel 3D45 use?

The Dremel Digilab 3D45 can work with a range of filaments including PLA, nylon, ECO-ABS, and PETG.

Why are Makerbots and Dremel 3D printers so expensive?

Both are premium brands that create larger, more feature-packed printers aimed at educational establishments and professional makers rather than hobbyists, meaning their costs are typically much higher than the average entry-level printer.

Makerbot Replicator vs. Dremel 3D45: Which is the Best 3D Printer to Buy?

MakerBot Replicator + 3D Printer, with swappable Smart Extruder+, Black (MP07825EU) Dremel - 3D45-01 DigiLab 3D45 3D Printer w/Filament, PC & MAC OS, Chromebook, iPad Compatible, Built-in HD Camera, Heated Build Plate, Nylon, ECO ABS, PETG, PLA Print Capability black
Makerbot Replicator Dremel Digital 3D45
Fastest printer lets you make high-quality designs quickly. Offers a higher level of consistency with prints.
Only 3D printer tested by NIOSH for environmental safety in the classroom Ideal for classroom environments with 30 lesson plans included
Works with MakerBot 3D Ecosystem to ensure smooth workflows and avoid compatibility problems. Works with a wider range of filaments
Features enhanced slicer algorithm to optimize the printing process. Cloud-based software makes it compatible with any device and operating system

If you’ve read the head-to-head comparison above, you’ll no doubt note that both the Makerbot Replicator and Dremel Digilab 3D45 are very similar in many respects.

Despite that, we ultimately have to give the win to the 3D45 this time around.

That’s not to say the Replicator isn’t a worthy purchase. Its larger build capacity, extended software compatibility, and exceptional, professional-quality printing are all commendable no matter which way you look at it.

However, the enclosed design, ability to work with multiple different types of filament, and ability to deliver printed parts that rival the Makerbot’s in terms of quality all give the Dremel 3D45 a clear advantage, ultimately making it the best of the two printers to buy.