MakerBot unveils the extra-large Replicator Z18 3D printer

As for hardware reveal number three at today's MakerBot press conference at CES: This one's a biggie -- quite literally. The new MakerBot Replicator Z18 is a beast of a printer. The printer can do prints up to 12 x 12 x 18 inches, the latter number being is how the device got its name -- it can print up to 18 inches in the Z axis. All together that's 2,592 cubic inches of printing space. "This is industrial-strength 3D printing," Pettis explained. Feature-wise, you've got the same color display and USB/Ethernet/WiFi connectivity, built-in camera and Smart Extruder as the new third-generation Replicator. They also share that delicious stereo-like knob that subtly clicks in to place. Unlike the other Replicator, however, this one is enclosed, with a heater built in to assure more stable builds. Heating up that large of a space means it takes a little bit longer to start laying down filament, but the quality should be worth the wait. The Z18 starts shipping in spring for $6,499.