How many start-up CEO’s do you know that host a podcast? Not many, for sure. As of today you can add Bre Pettis, the CEO and co-founder of Makerbot Industries to that short but illustrious list of podcasting CEOs.
In the inaugural episode of the new MakerBot Explorers podcast, Bre interacts with Corey Renner, Tom Burtonwood, and Thomas Lipoma to find out what they’ve been doing and creating with their Makerbot 3D printers.
Makerbot and America Makes jointly announced “Makerbot Academy”, a new initiative to support and strengthen American schools and STEM education. A big part of the initiative centres around giving students access to technology to foster interest, curiosity, and enthusiasm in STEM.
The new Makerbot Academy, with support from donors, plans to place thousands of 3D printers in schools across the nation. Here’s the opening text of the announcement:
We’re proud to announce MakerBot Academy, an educational mission to put a MakerBot® Desktop 3D Printer in every school in the United States of America.
The first MakerBot Academy initiative includes 3D printing bundles for classrooms, an awesome Thingiverse Challenge, and generous support from individuals and organizations.
What You Can Do
1. Get the word out. Tell the teachers you know to register at DonorsChoose.org.
2. Support a school. Contribute to the effort by choosing a teacher; help get them set for the Next Industrial Revolution.
3. Participate in the Thingiverse Challenge. Develop models that teachers can use to improve Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) education.
Responding to a Presidential Call to Action
At this year’s State Of The Union address, President Obama announced a new initiative to bring manufacturing jobs back to the US. He affirmed, “3D printing has the potential to revolutionize the way we make almost everything. The next industrial revolution in manufacturing will happen in America.”
We’re inspired by the President’s commitment to keep America at the forefront of the Next Industrial Revolution and we’re eager to do our part to educate the next generation of innovative makers who will keep our economy strong.
Let’s Get MakerBot Desktop 3D Printers into American Schools
Together with America Makes, and by leveraging the crowdfunding power of DonorsChoose.org, we’re launching our first MakerBot Academy initiative: Get thousands of MakerBot® Replicator® 2 Desktop 3D Printers into K-12 public school classrooms across the country — by December 31, 2013!
Look what the White House just announced for Tuesday afternoon (ET):
Have you ever considered what you might create with a state-of-the-art digital design studio? Have you ever thought about planning and printing a new pair of sneakers, instead of just buying some? Have you ever dreamt about what you would make if you had all the tools of industrial design at your fingertips?
Well, those dreams may be closer than you think.
A new generation of American pioneers is democratizing the tools of the industrial revolution and spreading them to students around the country. But these tools aren’t the rusty machines you might imagine – they’re 3-D printers, laser cutters, and water jets, and they give you the ability to make almost anything. Not only that, they may be coming soon to a school near you.
Announcing the first ever White House Science Fair, the President called for an all hands on deck approach to grow a generation of Americans who are, “the makers of things, and not just the consumers of things.” And at the 2012 White House Science Fair, the President met student Joey Hudy and launched his marshmallow cannon, noting that Joey’s motto was, “Don’t be bored, make something.” Responding to that call, citizens, communities, and organizations are coming together to give students the tools to design with their minds and make with their hands.
Join us and leading tinkerers, educators, and innovators on Tuesday, November 12th, at 2:00 pm EST for a “We the Geeks” Google+ Hangout, called “Don’t Be Bored, Make Something”.
The Hangout will be moderated by Kumar Garg, Assistant Director for Learning and Innovation, and Cristin Dorgelo, Assistant Director for Grand Challenges, and will feature a panel of these leading experts:
- Bre Pettis, CEO, MakerBot, with the Replicator 2 3-D printer
- Mariah Noelle Villarreal, student and Maker Corps Mentor, Maker Education Initiative
- Mark Hatch, CEO, TechShop
- Lisa Brahms, Director of Learning and Research, The Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh
- Rob Gorham, Deputy Director, America Makes
Hear from the people building the next generation of shop class by tuning into "We the Geeks: Don’t be Bored, Make Something" live on WhiteHouse.gov/WeTheGeeks and the White House Google+ page on Tuesday, November 12, at 2:00 pm EDT.
Got comments or questions? Ask them using the hashtag #WeTheGeeks on Twitter and on Google+ and we'll answer some of them during the live Hangout.
Spent an interesting afternoon with Roland working with his brand new MakerBot Replicator 2X 3D printer. The printer arrived while I was in the States at the World Maker Faire, and Roland had been able to make a lot of progress - more than I expected.
He had unpacked, setup, and adjusted the printer, and was cranking out lots of sample parts including some that he downloaded from Thingiverse. Today's session was primarily Q&A - talking about his toolchain, processes, and design trade-offs.
It turns out that the MakerBot documentation is fairly light on some details - so he didn't realize the necessity of cleaning the build platform regularly, typically with acetone and alcohol. The documentation is also written from the perspective of a U.S. user and makes lots of assumptions that aren't valid for overseas users - like the ready availability of 3M blue tape at local hardware stores.
The biggest issue we ran into was that the left extruder wasn't working properly. After a little inspection we noticed that the knurled shaft was incorrectly aligned and wasn't grabbing the filament, as you can see in this photo:
Disassembling the extruder, we were able to realign the shaft so that it worked properly, at least for the first print:
After we buttoned everything up again, Roland was able to print using both of the heads for the first time.
Unfortunately the left extruder started acting up with the next print and will require more debugging/trouble-shooting. It's almost as if there is a missing spacer or spring.
It's SXSW time again already, so it should come as no surprise that companies involved in the interactive space are rolling out press releases and product announcements designed to leverage the excitement of the moment.
The most exciting, and interesting announcement that we've seen so far came from Makerbot on Friday. The company's CEO, and one of the founders, Bre Pettis stepped into the limelight to let the world know that they are developing a new 3-D scanner. Actual details are kind of sparse at the moment, because the company is still in the prototyping phase. No doubt will be extensive testing, learning, and redesign over the next few months as the product develops. There is currently no indication of the price or release timing, though the company did state that they will start accepting orders this fall.
The scanner consists of a turntable on which you mount objects you wish to scan. Lasers and cameras translate that object into a digital files. Bre said the scanner will be ideal for archiving, prototyping, replicating, and digitizing prototypes, models, parts, artifacts, artwork, jewelry, and other objects.
Assuming that the pricing is reasonable, and by that I mean in line with the pricing for the company's 3-D printers, then the new scanner will be a huge success. There are free solutions out there that usually involve taking a series of photos, then having the photos analysed to re-create the dimensions for the 3-D object. However the free software available online is either difficult to use, or requires significant attention to detail.
The new scanner, on the other hand seems to be much more straightforward and has some nice features that we help make it into the final product design. For example, the turntable, which we assume will be able to rotate the subject smoothly and repeatably. it appears that the company would like to expand its offerings to include products targeted at all the key steps in the design and manufacturing/printing process.
Related links: Makerbot Announces New Scanner
Just received another email from Amazon Japan updating the status of my order for Bre Pettis's new book, "Getting Started with MakerBot". It's been delayed once again. The new projected delivery is January 6, 2013 though I'm sure it'll be delayed again.
Same thing happened several times already with Joseph Prusa's book on RepRep. The Amazon note simply reads the following,
"Dear customer: We have learned that there is been a delay with some of the items in your order indicated above. When your order is shipped you will receive an email message confirming the date, contents, and method of shipment."
That's all, nothing more to be done, just keep waiting...
I'm sure that a big part of the problem is the fact that the whole RepRap and 3-D printer spaces are growing dynamically. Things are changing rapidly. It's not just our knowledge the growing, it's also all the available configurations. New competitors are entering the market. And even existing competitors are making dynamic changes.
Bre may have started his book back in the Cupcake or more likely in the Thing-o-matic days. But, by the time the book is written, edited, layed out, and is ready for distribution, the company is gone through one or two generations of products. The old products that were new when the book started are already obsolete, and the newer products don't have their legs under them yet. So it's hard to write anything of significant size, like a commercial book that should sell for somewhere in the order of 20 or $30, and have it not be full of obsolete or questionable information.
I suppose that Prusa is also in the same position. His personal and professional status is changed dramatically month by month. For example, he recently decided to turned his hobby or avocation into a full-time occupation. This puts a totally different twist on what he would write and how he would position things. Another good example is the Thingiverse, especially the controversy over Makerbot going commercial. Prusa was one of the major agitators demonstrating actively on the Internet against Makerbot taking what everyone assumed to be an open source sharing platform and change the rules of the game, modifying its terms of service. So, how do you position that in a book?
Of course, the heart of the problem is the fact that they're trying to do this using the traditional publishing methodology and market. Had they gone completely digital and published their books in a PDF or e-book format, using the Internet, they could have had several generations of the book out, critiqued, gotten feedback, and improved them several times already. Instead we have customers that have placed orders months ago, perhaps as much as nine months ago, frustrated and still waiting for the book that they thought that they would get as a introduction or entry-level home helping them get into 3-D printing.