Like Magic: MakerBot Launches Three New 3D Printers

If you’ve never seen a 3D printer in action, well, then you are missing out my friend. Watching the printer head whizzing back and forth, slowly growing, building and creating a 3D creation, it is just totally cool and like magic. And in the world of 3D printing, MakerBot is at the forefront.

MakerBot’s Chief Executive, Ben Petti, says that his company and product is about unleashing your creativity and to date there are over 44,000 MakerBots in the world. And they see this number growing to over 1,000,000.

To date, more than 218,000 people have shared their digital designs at MakerBot’s Thing-a-verse on-line community. Petti explained that this allows people to download “things” just like they would download music and books and the company has seen over 48 million downloads so far. For example someone created a Robohand to help people that have lost hands. Where a prosthetic hand would be tens of thousands of dollars, a MakerBot 3D printed hand is under $5 in parts which Petti called “life changing.”

Petti also expressed that MakerBot operators get things done, and that owning a MakerBot leads to innovation. The material is super affordable, uses renewable, PLA filament derived from corn, and if it doesn’t work, you throw it away and try again. It has sped up production and limited losses from R&D.

Last year they launched an initiative to put a MakerBot desktop 3D printer in every school in the US. So far they have impacted 106,268 students by getting MakerBots in classrooms. Petti compared it to his childhood and growing up learning BASIC with an Apple II computer in the classroom, and will be empowering the next generation to be smarter.

Today MakerBot is launching their fifth generation of products with three new models. At the entry-level is the MakerBot Replicator Mini, a “consumer 3D printer” that is affordable, friendly, easy-to-use, and provides one-touch 3D printing. A built-in camera and network connectivity allows the unit to share pictures of your projects from inside the machine or send you status updates of your print projects. This will sell for $1,375 in spring of 2014.

The new MakerBot Replicator is a prosumer machine offering unmatched speed, reliability, and quality. Has an 11% large build volume than the previous Replicator, that can print object 8 x 10 x 6-inches. Flexibility with three different print speeds, and up to 100-micron layer resolution. The Replicator is controlled by a 3.5-inch LCD display with an intuitive dial that is “modeled after high-end stereo equipment knobs” Petti quipped. The Replicator is shipping in February for $2,899.

Finally, the MakerBot Replicator Z18 offers industrial-strength 3D printing and offers massive build volume. The Z18 can print an object up to 12 x 12 x 18-inches in size, and can make extra-large industrial prototypes, models and projects. You can also use the larger area to print multiple objects at one time. The Z18 will sell for $6,499 in spring of 2014.

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