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MakerBot Hits 3-Mendous Accomplishment
Not that there are probably that many doubters left out there when it comes to 3D printing, but if there are, the latest news from MakerBot should put their doubts into serious question. Yesterday the company made headlines by announcing that they have now sold more than 100,000 of their 3D printers worldwide, which is certainly significant. It is important to remember along with that number is while MakerBot units are certainly among the top if not the top units available, they still carry what some may still consider a hefty price tag—the least expensive unit, the Makerbot Mini, has a price tag of $1,375—which means those purchasing these units are more than just casual tinkerers. To be clear, this is not an attempt on our part to allude anything with regards to price or value, as we certainly believe in their products and admire them. The company is the first in the 3D printing industry to reach this monumental milestone, and may be the only one to do it for some time.
According to Jonathan Jaglom, CEO at MakerBot, "Being the first company to have sold 100,000 3D printers is a major milestone for MakerBot and the entire industry. MakerBot has made 3D printing more accessible and today is empowering businesses and educators to redefine what's possible. What was once a product used only by makers and hobbyists has matured significantly and become an indispensible tool that is changing the way students learn and businesses innovate."
Among their other milestones is their place as one of the first companies to make 3D printing both accessible and affordable to people. Originally founded in 2009 by Bre Pettis, Adam Mayer, and Zach "Hoeken" Smith, the company was acquired by Stratasys in 2013. They launched the Thingiverse platform, which is recognized as the first place anyone who wanted to could share 3D designs. Their first printer, the Cupcake CNC was introduced at SXSW and in 2010, they became the first company to present a 3D printer at the annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES). Fast forward a bit, and now 3D printing has become its own category at CES and a slew of 3D printing companies from around the world make their way there each January to show what they have accomplished in the industry.
MakerBot introduced its Fifth Generation 3D Printers in 2014 which debuted as the first 3D printers to feature built-in Wi-Fi connectivity along with a swappable Smart Extruder. As it currently stands, more than 40,000 of the 100,000 MakerBot has sold are in fact Wi-Fi connected. The release also notes that Thingiverse recently had its own milestone (October 2015) by reaching the 1,000,000 upload mark to its since it began.
Over the years MakerBot units have been available, the company has seen a wide array of unique and creative designs that have helped to not only revolutionize industries and also, of equal importance, to positively change lives. One great example are the efforts of a woodworker from Johannesburg, South Africa who partnered with a theatrical prop designer from Seattle, Washington to create a design for a prosthetic hand that has significantly aided hundreds of people from around the globe. Likewise, the Feinstein Institute is using 3D printing to solve problems in the medical field by creating 3D replicas of tracheas to help perfect the construction of tissues they will use in their patients.
Another key area of focus and development for MakerBot is in the field of education. Through Thingiverse challenges such as MakerED and Thingiversity S.T.E.A.M. challenges as well as product offerings which include the likes of MakerBot in the Classroom> and MakerBot Innovation Centers. Innovation Centers like those found at Penn State University and the University of Maryland are just a few of the examples that show that 3D printing is a relevant and useful skill to future members of our workforce.
Yolanda Valencia, chair of science and engineering at Gulliver Middle School in Miami, FL., states "3D printing has become a major focal point in our school with children as young as five using tools like MakerBot PrintShop? to create their own designs. Because MakerBot 3D Printers are so easy to use, our middle school students can move on to more advanced projects. Right now they are working together to find sustainable solutions in urban planning and above all learning crucial skills that they will use for the rest of their lives like critical thinking, collaboration and product development"
According to the release, to celebrate and recognize those who aspire to innovate, MakerBot has begun a temporary price drop of its popular MakerBot Replicator from $2,899 to $2,499 until June 15, 2016. They are also asking those interested to share their own #MakerMilestones to enter in a contest to win one of three MakerBot Replicator Desktop 3D Printers. Another potential avenue for innovation is the Thingiverse Make It Loud Challenge.
Colby Dennison, Vice President of marketing at MakerBot said "We're challenging people across our social media platforms to share their #MakerMilestones. Tell us the moment in which 3D printing inspired you, changed the way you work or led to a positive outcome for a student, colleague, or friend."
A panel of expert judges will select the best of the stories submitted from among the 50 most popular posts on MakerBot’s social media platforms. Among the judges are Jonathan Jaglom, MakerBot CEO, Deanne Bell, Co-Host of CNBC's Make Me A Millionaire Inventor and Founder and CEO of Future Engineers, Jason Frasca, Entrepreneurship Instructor at Montclair State University, and Tom and Tracy Hazzard, CEO and COO of Hazz Design and Cohosts of the WTFFF?! 3D Printing Podcast. The three winners will also receive filament and MakerCare along with their 3D printers so they can be inspired while inspiring those around them. Further details of the contest are available here.