MakerBot Has a New Brooklyn Home, Ahead of 3D Scanner Release
The technology is finding audiences in architecture, engineering, geospatial and medical fields—there's talk of using 3D printers on asteroids and the moon to create parts for spacecraft, Basiliere pointed out. But, of course, the real benefit of a machine that costs less than $3,000 and is roughly the size of a large microwave is that it's not only available to geophysicists in private labs. In 2001, Pettis and eventual MakerBot co-founders Adam Mayer and Zach Smith wanted a 3D printer. "But they were like $100,000," said Pettis. "So what do you do when you want something and you can't afford it? You make it yourself. And we're not engineers—we're tinkerers." In 2009, they had a machine that almost worked, so they quit their jobs and started MakerBot.MakerBot introduced the Replicator 2X in September 2012, eight months after the introduction of its earlier Replicator model. The company credits the short time between the models with the decision to have its factory in Brooklyn. Had the factory been a 20-hour flight away in Asia, with the inevitable hassles of doing business in a foreign country, it wouldn't have worked, said Pettis. "Making it here, with people who take pride in their work, we just make a better product. Plus," he said, "Brooklyn is just the best place in the world." Speed, or more specifically, the power to act, is essential to Pettis. When asked by eWEEK where he thinks the industry will be in five years, he giddily pointed out that by the end of this year, MakerBot will launch the 3D scanner that it showed off in prototype at South By Southwest , "and then it's game on." "People want to talk about the future ... and I'm like screw that. We're doing it this year," he said. "Whatever industry you're in—where will it be in five years? Go make those major changes right now." Follow Michelle Maisto on Twitter.
"It was designed to be a really flexible platform ... for people at home, not for manufacturers." The company's latest model, the Replicator 2X, is designed to be even simpler to put together.