Open Source

Open Source Hardware Pioneer Ladyada Interviews the New MakerBot CEO 38 38

ptorrone writes: Open source hardware pioneer and founder of Adafruit Limor "Ladyada" Fried sat down and interviewed the new CEO of MakerBot, Jonathan Jaglom. She asked some really tough questions had some suggestions for them, too, if they're going to turn things around. Discussed: Is there a desire for MakerBot to patch things up with the open source community? Jaglom wants to assure the 3D-printing community there are not any plans for filament DRM, and it was nice to hear him say "patents are not the way to win." Lastly, Fried suggested the open-sourcing of some specific elements of the MakerBot to get back to its open-source hardware roots.
Hardware Hacking

Video Glowforge is a CNC Laser Cutter, not a 3D Printer (Video) 45 45

Co-Founder and CEO Dan Shapiro says, right at the beginning of the interview, that the Glowforge machine is a CNC laser cutter and engraver, not a 3-D Printer. He says they've "simplified the heck" out of the hardware and software, and are making an easy-to-use, non-costly ($2500 has been bandied about as the unit's likely price) device that can fit on a kitchen table -- or, more likely, a workbench at a maker facility. Although Dan did very well on Kickstarter (and afterwards) with his previous venture, Robot Turtles, this time he seems to have raised his first $9 million in the venture capital market, with participation from several MakerBot executives.

Glowforge is not the only CNC laser cutter/etcher device out there (or about to be). In Australia, Darkly Labs appears to have raised $569,397 (AUD) on Kickstarter to bring their LazerBlade to life, and already makes a small laser device called the Emblaser. There are others, too, including Boxzy, which did the Kickstarter thing and will now sell you a device that "rapidly transforms into 3 kinds of machines: CNC Mill, 3D Printer & Laser Engraver while enhancing precision & power with ballscrews." All this, and their top-of-the-line "does everything" machine sells for a mere $3500. Obviously, devices to give makers and prototypers the ability to make ever more complex and accurate shapes are coming to market like crazy. We'll continue to keep an eye on all this activity, including a second video interview with Glowforge's Dan Shapiro tomorrow.
Businesses

New MakerBot CEO Explains Layoffs and the Company's New Vision 59 59

merbs sends an update on MakerBot, one of the most well known names in the 3D-printing industry. After its acquisition by Stratasys in 2013, defective parts plagued the company's printers in 2014. MakerBot co-founder and CEO Bre Pettis stepped down, and the company laid off 20% of its employees. The new CEO, Jonathan Jaglom, is now talking about how they're rebuilding MakerBot, and where we can expect it to go in the future. "The 39-year-old, Swiss-born Jaglom says that his priorities since taking over have been to dedicate more attention to customer support, to address the remaining fallout from the extruder problem, and to reorient the company to target its Replicators to the professional and educational markets."

Jaglom also envisions a sort of "iTunes for 3D printing," where people can easily buy designs online and print them out at home. He says, "I'll be sitting at home. Maybe something broke; maybe my glasses. Maybe I want to reprint it and I'll go to Oakley, Ray Ban, whatever, Philippe Starck in this case, download the file, pay $3.49 for it, and print it at home. And then you will have to go to your Kinko's or your Fab Labs, your local 3D printing, if you want it in metal or plastics you can't have at home."
Medicine

Researchers Discover Breakthrough Drug Delivery Method By Changing Shape of Pill 66 66

ErnieKey writes: Researchers at the UCL School of Pharmacy, University College London have found a way to change the rate of dissolution within medication via a 3D printing method. Researchers used MakerBot's water- soluble filament, cut it into tiny pieces and mixed in acetaminophen. They then used the Filabot extruder to extrude a drug infused filament. With this filament they printed odd shaped pills and tested them to see what effect different shapes had on the speed at which they dissolved. What they concluded was that these odd shaped pills allowed for different rates of absorption, enabling custom medications for patients.
Censorship

Defense Distributed Sues State Department Over 3-D Gun Censorship 312 312

SonicSpike writes with word that Cody Wilson, whose projects to create (and disseminate the plans for) printable guns have fascinated some and horrified others, is not going to quietly comply with the U.S. State Deparment's demand that he remove such plans from the internet. Wilson, says Wired, is picking a fight that could pit proponents of gun control and defenders of free speech against each other in an age when the line between a lethal weapon and a collection of bits is blurrier than ever before. Wilson's gun manufacturing advocacy group Defense Distributed, along with the gun rights group the Second Amendment Foundation, on Wednesday filed a lawsuit against the State Department and several of its officials, including Secretary of State John Kerry. In their complaint, they claim that a State Department agency called the Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (DDTC) violated their first amendment right to free speech by telling Defense Distributed that it couldn't publish a 3-D printable file for its one-shot plastic pistol known as the Liberator, along with a collection of other printable gun parts, on its website.
Build

MakerBot Lays Off 20 Percent of Its Employees 177 177

Jason Koebler writes MakerBot fired roughly 20 percent of its staff Friday. Figures from 2014 placed the company's ranks at 500, meaning the cuts could equate to roughly 100 employees. The orders came from new CEO Jonathan Jaglom, Motherboard was told. Employees are apparently being led out of the company's Brooklyn office by security today. "It's about 20 percent of staff," a MakerBot representative, who asked not to be identified because she had not received approval to speak to the press, told Motherboard. "Everyone suspected that something would be coming with the new CEO, and that there would be restructuring coming."
Printer

Video VP Anthony Moschella Shows Off Makerbot's Latest Printers and Materials (Video) 47 47

You may have read a few weeks ago about the new materials that MakerBot has introduced for its 3-D printers; earlier this month, I got a chance to see some of them in person, and have them explained by MakerBot VP of Product Anthony Moschella in a cramped demo closet — please excuse the lighting — at the company's booth at CES. Moschella had some things to say about materials, timelines, and what MakerBot is doing to try to salvage its open-source cred, despite being a very willing part of a corporate conspiracy to sell boxes of Martha Stewart-branded extruder filament — as well as a few unremarkable things that the company's ever-vigilant PR overseer decreed Moschella couldn't answer on the record for reasons like agreements between MakerBot parent Stratasys and their suppliers. The good news for owners of recent MakerBot models: they'll be upgradeable to use the new and interesting materials with a part swap, rather than a whole-machine swap (it takes a "smart extruder" rather than the current, dumber one). And the pretty good news for fans of open source, besides that the current generation of MakerBots are all Linux-based computers themselves, is that MakerBot's open API provides a broad path for 3-D makers to interact with the printers. (The bad news is that there's no move afoot to return the machines' guts to open source hardware, like the early generations of MakerBots, but STL files at least don't care whether you ship them to an FSF-approved printer to be made manifest.)
Medicine

Scientists 3D-Printing Cartilage For Medical Implants 23 23

Molly McHugh writes Scientists and physicians at The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research have discovered a way to use MakerBot's 3D-printing technologies to create cartilage and repair tissue damage in the trachea. From the article: "Researchers found that it’s possible to use the MakerBot Replicator 2X Experimental 3D Printer to print what’s called 'scaffolding,' made up of PLA, a bioplastic commonly used in in surgical implant devices. The team customized the printer so that living cells could be printed onto the scaffolding. The 3D-printed mixture of healthy cells found in cartilage, and collagen, eventually grew into the shape of a trachea that could be implanted into a patient."
Build

Hands On With MakerBot's 3D-Printed Wood 72 72

angry tapir writes: 3D printing has lost a bit of its novelty value, but new printing materials that MakerBot plans to release will soon make it a lot more interesting again. MakerBot is one of the best-known makers of desktop 3D printers, and at CES this week it announced that late this year its products will be able to print objects using composite materials that combine plastic with wood, metal or stone.
Build

How 3D Printers Went Mainstream After Decades In Obscurity 69 69

An anonymous reader writes: By now, everyone knows the likes of MakerBot, Bre Pettis, and the gun-printing cage rattlers at Defense Distributed. But the tale of 3D-printing goes all the way back to the heady pre-Macintosh days of 1983, and a simple plastic cup holds the distinction of being the first-ever 3D-printed object. Garage entrepreneur Chuck Hull managed to print it using cobbled-together hardware that looked like something out of Waterworld, laying the fragile plastic framework for everything to come. From retrofitted hot glue guns, to a machine made specifically to print on-demand shot glasses, the last 30 years in 3D printing have been full of strange twists, odd characters and melted failures. And the possibilities are just beginning to emerge now that anyone can play.
Mars

Modular Hive Homes Win Mars Base Design Competition 61 61

In June, we discussed news that JPL and MakerBot were teaming up to host a competition for designing a futuristic Mars base. The competition is now over, and the top three designs have been chosen. First place went to Noah Hornberger, who designed a base with hexagonal rooms and shielding made of depleted uranium. Second place went to a martian pyramid with an aquaponics system on top, mirror-based solar collectors, central water storage, and compartmentalized living spaces. The third place award went to Chris Starr for his Mars Acropolis, which was styled upon the ancient Greek Acropolis. It has a water tower at the top of the structure, a series of greenhouses at the bottom, and living quarters in between. The full list of 227 entries is browse-able on Thingiverse.
Build

Home Depot Begins Retail Store Pilot Program To Sell MakerBot 3-D Printers 127 127

ClockEndGooner writes Looking for a 3-D printer to help you out with a home project or two? If you're in one of the 12 pilot program areas in the U.S., stop into Home Depot to take a look at and purchase a MakerBot 3-D Replicator printer. "...The pilot program will offer the microwave-sized MakerBot Replicator printers, priced at $2,899, for sale, as well as the smaller Replicator Minis, which list for $1,375. 'This will open up the whole world of 3-D printing to people who wouldn't otherwise know about it—like moms and dads, electricians, contractors and DIY-home-improvement folks,' said MakerBot chief executive Bre Pettis. 'It's a good match.'"
Mars

Mars Base Design Competition Open To Non-Scientific Professionals 94 94

An anonymous reader writes "MakerBot, in collaboration with NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), is hosting a competition for the design of a future Mars base. The competition is open to any Thingiverse account holder regardless of professional or educational background. Winners will be chosen by a subjective panel of JPL and MakerBot employees based on scientific feasibility, creativity, and printability. Contest ends June 12, and contestants have to be at least 13 years old. The first place winner will receive a MakerBot Replicator 2 Desktop 3D printer and three spools of MakerBot Filament. The second place winner will receive two spools, and the third place winner will receive one spool. All three will have their design featured on Thingiverse." You can also browse the entries so far.
Patents

Questionable Patents From MakerBot 56 56

An anonymous reader writes "OpenBeam USA is a Kickstarted company that builds open source aluminum construction systems (think high-quality erector sets). One of the main uses for the systems is building 3D printers, and creator Terence Tam is heavily involved in the 3D-printing community. He's now put up a blog post about some disturbing patents filed by MakerBot. In particular, he notes a patent for auto-leveling on a 3D printer. Not only is this an important upcoming technology for 3D printers, the restriction of which would be a huge blow to progress, it seems the patent was filed just a few short weeks after Steve Graber posted a video demonstrating such auto-leveling. There had also been a Kickstarter campaign for similar tech a few months earlier. Tam gives this warning: 'Considering the Stratasys — Afinia lawsuit, and the fact that Makerbot is now a subsidiary of Stratasys, it's not a stretch to imagine Makerbot coming after other open source 3D manufacturers that threaten their sales. After all, nobody acquires a patent warchest just to invite their competitors to sit around the campfire to sing Kumbaya. It is therefore vitally important that community developed improvements do not fall under Makerbot's (or any other company's) patent portfolio to be used at a later date to clobber the little guys.'"
Hardware

Video Printing 3-D Replicas of Human Beings with a Home Brew Printer (Video) 41 41

When I bumped into Abram Thau at Metrix Createspace in Seattle's Capitol Hill, he showed me a few printed figurines, including a Storm Trooper (of the Star Wars variety), and I thought at first that he had printed them as duplicates of similar-sized commercial products. Not so: It turns out these are made-from-life, specifically from cos-players who have stood on Abram's human-suitable turntable (powered by a chicken rotisserie motor hooked to a 3-D printed pulley) while he scanned them in. Thau's apartment is practically shouting distance from Metrix, but that pulley was made on a large Deltabot filament printer in the corner of his living room. (A living room usefully cluttered with tools, bottles of resin, projectors in various states of repair, and more printed objects.) More interesting still, Thau's figurines are produced with a home-built resin printer. Resin is messier to work with than the filament feedstock of RepRap/Makerbot style printers (and the resin itself has a slight odor), but it allows different results. Overhanging pieces are possible without requiring elaborate support pieces built into the mesh, and the resulting product can be noticeably smoother than typical filament printing, though all 3-D printing techniques are getting better. Thau didn't buy one of the commercially available resin printers, though (like FormLabs's), but instead decided to build his own out of scavenged and off-the-shelf components. Budget concerns and improvisation rule the day (Thau is also a grad student, studying to be a middle school teacher): That means there's a book holding up the projector which is vital to curing the resin, and the printer's case is recycled from a previous one. The results look as good as the affordable commercial ones I've seen, and he's excited to teach others to make their own. Third-party resin makers and a robust market in used projectors mean that other hobbyists can follow his lead and turn their friends into figurines. (Alternate video link)
Printer

Interviews: Ask Bre Pettis About Making Things 69 69

As co-founder and CEO of MakerBot Industries, Bre Pettis is a driving force in the Maker and 3-D printing world. He's done a number of podcasts for Make, and even worked as an assistant at Jim Henson's Creature Shop in London after college. Makerbot's design community, Thingiverse, boasts over 100,000 3D models, and inspires countless artists and designers by allowing them to share their designs. Bre has agreed to set aside some time from printing in order to type answer to your questions. Normal Slashdot interview rules apply.
Businesses

Dell Partners With MakerBot To Resell 3D Printers and Scanners 44 44

An anonymous reader writes "Dell today announced a partnership with MakerBot to offer Replicator 3D printers and scanners to small and medium-sized businesses looking for faster and more affordable ways of prototyping. The products are slated to become available for purchase on February 20 in the U.S."
Graphics

Adobe Adds 3D Printer Support To Photoshop 73 73

angry tapir writes "Adobe has rolled out an update to Photoshop that incorporates direct support for 3D printing. According to Adobe, they don't expect most users to directly create 3D meshes in Photoshop. Instead they expect most of the time people will import objects from other applications and then use Photoshop as a finishing tool to tweak and repair meshes — in a similar fashion to how Photoshop can be used to tweak photos before production. The application currently directly supports MakerBot printers and the online Shapeways service. More printer support is coming (printer profiles are editable XML files) and the application can also export STL files that can be copied to a USB drive and used on other brands of 3D printer."
Technology

Video CES 2014: 3-D Scanners are a Logical Next Step After 3-D Printers 87 87

A number of companies are either selling or preparing to sell 3-D scanners. Aside from fun (but interesting) uses, like duplicating chess pieces or possibly reproducing a miniature of Rodin's famous sculpture, Fallen Caryatid Carrying Her Stone, Matterform anticipates archeologists reproducing artifacts so that students can study them without handling the precious originals. This video is an interview with Matterform co-founder Drew Cox, who was exhibiting Matterform's scanner at CES 2014. MakerBot is also selling a scanner, as are a growing number of others. In fact, even though Matterform talks about being a low-cost (pre-order price $579) scanner for home use, as opposed to a commercial one that costs thousands. There are also several interesting hand-held scanners out there. Sense sells theirs for $399. Structure has one for $349 that's essentially a peripheral for an iPad. And this is just a random selection from a brief Google search. Use "3-D Scanner" as your search term and you'll find multiple Google pages full of 3-D scanners and information about them -- including software being developed at ETH zurich that turns your smartphone into a 3-D scanner.
Education

A Makerbot In Every Classroom 152 152

Daniel_Stuckey writes "At the start of this year, President Obama nicely summed up the grandiose promise of 3D printing — or rather, the hype surrounding it. In his State of the Union address the president suggested the fledgling technology could save manufacturing by ushering in a second industrial revolution. That shout-out inspired a spate of buzzkill blog posts pointing out — rightly enough — that despite its potential, 3D printing is still in its infancy. It's not the panacea for the struggling economy we want it to be, at least not yet. Apparently the naysayers weren't enough to kill the 3D-printing dream, because, with support from the federal government, MakerBot announced its initiative to put a 3D printer in every school in America. The tech startup and the administration are betting big that teaching kids 3D printing is teaching them the skills they'll need as tomorrow's engineers, designers, and inventors." Caveat: Makerbot no longer produces open hardware, and they are pushing proprietary Autodesk software and educational materials as part of the free 3D printer. Makerbot also launched a call for open models of math manipulatives on Thingiverse (you might remember them from elementary school) so that teachers have something useful to print immediately.