“We’ve been engineering our tails off to bring you the best personal 3D printer and we rejected the proprietary cartridge model for printing materials which other companies use, because we encourage sharing and iteration,” MakerBot founder Bre Pettis wrote last week on the MakerBot Industries blog.
He was turning his nose up at the ink cartridge model, whereby manufacturers hold consumers hostage by charging them stiff prices for ink cartridges to keep their printers printing. Besides running out of ink too quickly, the cartridges also contain chips to monitor use, Mr. Pettis wrote. “This is such an old, accepted model of doing business, we don’t even think about it anymore. Razor blades, ink cartridges, photo printers, Swiffers, and mobile phones & service contracts. That’s the old world. That’s a wasteful world.”
Unfortunately, that attitude may be creeping into the 3D printing industry.
The DIY Economy
Brooklyn-based 3D printing startup MakerBot lords over the Thingiverse, an online community where users can post printable designs, notes about their designs, and collaborate on open source projects. The design database has reached 15,000 designs, a rep said in an email, including the impressive 3D-printed clock that MakerBot founder Bre Pettis just demo’ed at TED2012.
The clock, developed by Thingiverse users, is on the sophisticated side of the thousands of designs in the Thingiverse, but it gives us a glimpse at the full power of the Makerbot. The creation myth goes like this: Mathieu Glachant, a.k.a. Thingiverse user Syvwlch, created a 3D model for an escapement—the part that activates the clock’s pendulum and makes it tick—and posted it on Thingiverse. But he didn’t have a MakerBot to print it.
The Tao of Steve
3D printing for the masses has always been the mission of Brooklyn-based Makerbot. Today the company unveiled the Makerbot Replicator, a souped up version of its original device. It lets users print way bigger items, we’re talking the size of a breadloaf, instead of a cupcake. And because it comes with a dual extruder it now, “supports Dualstrusion 2-color printing” (dualstrusion, fun word to say), users can now print in multiple colors and materials, opening up all sorts of new possibilities.
The company is selling its new item as the gateway to a brighter future. “Students with access to a MakerBot have an edge in the future job market. Just like the youth of the 1980’s, who had access to computers, children with access to a MakerBot Replicator™ will become the leaders who make a better tomorrow.” Bill Gates brains not included. But seriously, there is an open position for a “maker” at the NY Times R&D lab right now, and according to Vimeo founder Zach Klein, “We’re going to be seeing a lot more of that job.”
The DIY Economy
After the news about Apple founder Steve Jobs death broke last night, Betabeat reached out to a few members of the New York tech community and asked them to share their thoughts and impressions of the ultimate CEO. Here’s what they had to say:
3-D printing is still pretty far from the mainstream, but Makerbot, the New York firm which has done the most to bring it to the attention of the masses, just scored a $10 million round of funding from some big names. They aren’t wasting any time putting that cheddar to work, launching a spiffy new web series, Makerbot TV, that profiles people, places and things in the world of 3-D printing.
The series kicks of with a “head scanning” party Makerbot threw in collaboration with Brooklyn’s Afro-Punk festival. Some sample reactions from the crowd when asked the question:
Industrial Revolution 2.0
First off, thanks to all the great start-ups who applied, and hope to see everyone at the event, (which is free!).
Second, we’re pumped to announce that Makerbot is the winner of a free Silver Sponsorship at the gdgt Live event here in New York on June, 21.
Fabricate the Future
Bre Pettis sat down with the Colbert Nation last night to give the comedian an introduction to the world of 3D printing. The founder and CEO of Brooklyn based Makerbot did a live demo on air.
“This seems to have unbelievable implications,” said Colbert, holding a miniature rendering of his own head. “Right now we rely on the Chinese for our little plastic pieces of crap. Now you don’t have to. Because what’s cheaper than Chinese worker, a robot.”
Dutch designer Ulrich Schwanitz recently printed up the impossible, using a 3D printer to create the Penrose Triangle, a famous optical illusion.
The achievement created a little buzz in design circles, but since Schwanitz refused to reveal his design, admirers were left with just a few tantalizing screen shots. The Dutch dynamo did post a Read More