Archive for the ‘MakerBot in the Wild’ Category

Bay Lights Project Comes To Life, With MakerBot Support!


The Bay Area is all abuzz with the new light installation on the Bay Bridge. It looks amazing.

Did you know that MakerBot played an important part in the Bay Lights project? The lights themselves, high-powered LEDs, are attached to the cables using clips designed and iterated on a MakerBot! In order to get the shape right, the team captured and modeled a section of suspension cable, printed it on a MakerBot, and then made custom clips to suit.

Super user Gian Pablo Villamil has written all about the project here on the MakerBot blog, from the first steps to the testing to the installation. This is super exciting stuff, and we’re thrilled to see it come to life.


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Manufacturing and Prototyping on Your MakerBot Replicator 2

Find out how these two MakerBot users are forging forward into the next industrial revolution!

Chris Milnes had never 3D printed anything when he invented an iPhone accessory he desperately needed. While the Square credit card reader makes his life easier as a business owner, it tends to spin and twist during use. His simple design, the Square Helper, connects the Square unit to an iPhone or iPad and prevents it from twisting, saving the merchant time and hassle. With his MakerBot Replicator 2 Desktop 3D Printer, Chris has a factory on his desk for making high-resolution, durable units. Even better, the Square Helper accessory is selling for a big profit, without any need for injection molding. Chris’s story is a great example of how a MakerBot can empower anyone with an idea to become an inventor, a manufacturer, and an entrepreneur.

Marcel Botha says the need for a better baby spoon is obvious: just look at any baby’s face after his most recent meal. Unfortunately what makes for some pretty hilarious shots on Instagram can be a real pain for the parent on the other end of the spoon. Marcel partnered with a few others including Manuel Toscano of the New York based creative agency Zago to create Spuni, a revolutionary spoon suited for a baby’s mouth. Now the team uses their MakerBot Replicator 2 Desktop 3D Printer to create samples for press and potential investors. Having a MakerBot in the office gives the Spuni team the (relatively) immediate gratification of having proof-of-concepts in hand within a few hours instead of a few weeks.

Make sure to check out the Explore section of our website where Square Helper and Spuni are currently featured. The Explore pages will give you a chance to get inspired by hearing from other MakerBot Explorers and to Discover the MakerBot ecosystem. We update it frequently so make it a regular stop on your MakerBot tour.

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A Gravity Compensation Device For Your Toilet Seat

Inventors own MakerBots. They invent useful new things and turn them into real objects. They make charming videos with clever animations and share them online. What a beautiful age we live in!

Meet Bobson Hsiao, an inventor in Taiwan who is also the proud owner of a MakerBot Cupcake CNC from Batch 9 of our earliest production in 2009! Bobson showed us his latest invention, a “gravity compensation device” for raising and lowering a toilet seat. As he notes, the printed joint piece “works so well that the toilet seat is operated using tiny motors.”

You can find Bobson on Thingiverse, too!

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Pixil 3D Uses Their Replicator 2 For Custom Consumer Products

About a month ago I bragged about Pixil Agency, a group of creative forward thinkers down in sunny Florida who happen to use both The Replicator and the MakerBot Replicator 2 in work for their clients. Well, here I am again to sing their praises, because these guys just don’t quit.

As this Young Entrepreneur article explains, Pixil has launched a spin-off business, Pixil 3D focused exclusively on the creative 3D printing services they’ve gotten so good at. “Leave it to young entrepreneurs to make a business case for 3D printing,” the article says.

Business case, indeed, with a focus on the word case. As I was catching up on twitter, Pixil VP Nick Mohnacky’s blog jumped out at me showing off the custom cases the team has already made and started selling for the new iPad Mini. Yes, you read that right. Not only do they have this just-released gadget; they’ve already used their MakerBot Replicator 2 to get a production line going of custom cases. Nick writes,

Ok, so the iPad mini is all but a foreign device to most of America, as most people have seen it on Apple’s website or held one at best because it is so new.  However, Pixil 3D is on the grind again making consumer products as quickly as possible, and the iPad mini case is at the top of the list.  We have prototyped 3 different ones in the past couple days printing 4-5 different renditions of each.  Our Makerbot Replicator 2 is dialed in and we’re a few hours away from confidently selling our latest design for the iPad Mini.  Who wants one?  Email [email protected]

That’s just bananas! Anyone still wondering if owning a MakerBot Desktop 3D Printer makes sense for your small business?


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Ben Heck Show Uses Replicator For Xbox 360 Laptop


Man do we love the Ben Heck Show, especially when Ben uses the MakerBot Replicator for parts on his electronics enclosure. Here’s his latest mod of an Xbox 360, of course turning the gaming system into a portable laptop. Many of these parts are laser-cut or milled, but a few came right off the Replicator. Toward the end, Ben says he’s very satisfied with the door he made for the disc drive on the new laptop.

…The 3D print allowed us to have the same curve of the unit here, so it kind of matched the contours. And I printed it at a very fine resolution so you can barely see the lines. Worked out pretty good.

via SlashGear

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Cosmo Wenman’s Mind-Blowing Sculpture Made On A MakerBot

MYTH: MakerBot Desktop 3D Printers can only make things up to a certain size. BUSTED

MYTH: MakerBot PLA Filament is harder to finish than ABS filament. BUSTED

MYTH: The quality of pieces made on a MakerBot are great, but they’re not, like, museum-quality great. BUSTED

Cosmo Wenman is a (slightly elusive) artist in California who has just reminded us not to limit our imaginations when it comes to what can be made. The horse head and human bust you see above were made entirely of MakerBot PLA Filament (White) on the original MakerBot Replicator. We believe so strongly in the potential of the renewable bioplastic PLA that we optimized the new MakerBot Replicator 2 for that material.

These pieces were in-house at MakerBot HQ for a couple days before they were swept off to London to be displayed in our booth at the 3D Printshow, and the reactions by staff ranged from “whoa,” to “no, really, how was this made?” The simplicity of the answer may be the most impressive part.

Cosmo captured the original ancient sculptures, the marble “Head of a horse of Selene from the east pediment of the Parthenon” (Acropolis, Athens, 438-432 BC) and “Portrait of Alexander the Great” (Hellenistic Greek, 2nd-1st century BC), using digital photography and Autodesk 123D Catch (free). You may remember his work at the Getty Museum using the same process that got him some buzz back in June. These scans were cleaned up and turned into 3D-printable models using the programs Blender (free) and Netfabb Studio Basic (also free).

Since Cosmo aimed to make the pieces true-to-life and not scaled down, he had to slice them up into multiple pieces. This awesome photo shows the 29 unfinished blocks of the horse head before Cosmo went to work fusing them and adding the incredible bronze patina finish seen above.

Here’s a shot of Bre holding the sculpture in our office to give you an idea of just how large “life-size” really is.

The next picture shows a similar blank of the Alexander the Great portrait, followed by a gallery shot of three different finishes Cosmo tried out on this piece. I can speak for MakerBot staff in saying that these sculptures are incredibly authentic looking and feeling, which caused several people in the office to wonder why we had them. “Are we going to scan these and make them on a MakerBot?” No, no, we explained. These were already made on a MakerBot.


Take a minute to read the descriptions of each of these pieces over at Thingiverse. Cosmo takes great time to explain the motivations for his uploads and his appreciation for the sculptures themselves. Here’s an excerpt.

I imagine a Greek guy walking around 2,000 years ago with acamera obscura with some kind of light sensitive papyrus inside, trying to raise funds to get his light enscribing machine into mass production. Alas, there was no Kickstarter back then.

Or, maybe the artist and horse in bright sunlight, the artist covering his eyes. The horse’s handler startles it into motion, and the artist opens his eyes for an instant, closes them again, then draws quickly with his eyes shut while the image fades in his retinas – the lens, film, and darkroom being his eyes… I dunno – either that or weeks of careful study, scores of sketches of impressions of a horse in motion, composited into this exacting model. But that doesn’t sound like as much fun.

What’s funny here is that Cosmo is trying to figure out what great ingenuity and creativity must have led to the stunning original sculpture thousands of years ago, and all of us are doing the same thing for Cosmo’s work in 2012. MakerBot is proud to display work from this forward-thinking artist and creative explorer.

You can follow Cosmo on twitter, Thingiverse, and at

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Pixil Agency Uses MakerBot For 3D Film Title Sequence


Well color us excited for this.

The good guys at Pixil Agency, in sunny West Palm Beach, Florida, have collaborated with Remedy Films for a new concept of MakerBot in  live action film. They give a teaser on their site:

Imagine for a moment, a 3D printed title on a rail and in focus as a rider slides across and hits the name, sending it spinning in camera at 1000 frames per second.  Yeah, that would be pretty awesome!  At those speeds, as you can see in this demo video [above], water droplets are crystal clear and perfectly defined.

It’s awesome to see this fun use of MakerBot-made lettering, and we are excited to see the final product. The Remedy Films logo in the video above was made on Pixil’s MakerBot Replicator. As it happens, several of us got to meet with the Pixil masters Pedro (aka videopixil on twitter and Thingiverse), and Noe (aka ecken on twitter and Thingiverse), and Nick (twitter), just as they were getting in town for Maker Faire New York. If you don’t already follow these guys, please do so. They share cool things about MakerBot, their own awesome projects, and 3D printing in general.

If you happen to be in New York City, please take the chance to connect with our team. The new MakerBot Store in Manhattan is the perfect meeting place. Here’s a shot of yours truly, Video Superstar Annelise, MakerBot Designers Todd and Matt, and the gentlemen of Pixil. Hope to have them back soon!

Left to right: Andrew, Todd, Pedro, Annelise, Matt, Nick, Ecken

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Tom Burtonwood’s MakerBot-Made Art On Display In Chicago

Photo credit: Industry of the Ordinary

More and more, we see methods of 3D printing popping up in the art world, and we are lucky to have great relationships with so many daring MakerBot artists out in the wild.

One of these is Tom Burtonwood, a co-founder of the What It Is gallery in Chicago. For another exhibition initiated by the artists collectively known as Industry of the Ordinary (and ordinarily known as Adam Brooks and Mat Wilson), Tom created a unique piece of 3D scanning and printing that has since been featured on Thingiverse. The exhibition is being dubbed a “mid-career retrospective”, so it is fitting that Industry of the Ordinary invited others to produce their portraits.

Tom’s piece, “Two Heads are Better than One”, was made on his MakerBot Replicator and uses scans of the artists’ heads from Autodesk’s program 123D Catch, stitched together into a model using Netfabb. Merging the heads together on each bead of the necklace celebrates the duo’s collaboration over the years. There are four different beads, each showing the heads three times, strung together with a white leather cord. As you can see in the photos below, these are beautiful scans and prints, showing how far we’ve come in using MakerBots for art.

There are two things to know here. First is that you can see the whole exhibition yourself and get a feel for 3D printed art (details bel0w). Tom’s Improbable Objects collection is also an incredible exploration of 3D printing as an artistic medium.

The second thing to know is that Tom is encouraging the community to find the necklace on Thingiverse and upload new derivatives. This could be any variation on the necklace, or a new use of the head scans.

Industry of the Ordinary: 2003-2013 Sic Transit Gloria Mundi
Chicago Cultural Center 4th floor
78 E. Washington Street, Chicago
August 17, 2012-February 17, 2013

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NASA Langley Center To Celebrate 95th Anniversary With MakerBots

Before we hit the end of our countdown, in a couple hours, let me share with you some fun news from NASA.

We’re a company primarily of engineers and robot nuts, so naturally we’re no strangers to NASA here. It’s become clear that they’re no strangers to MakerBot either. In fact, several NASA centers around the country use MakerBots and MakerBot filament in their research and education programs.

This week we got an update from the NASA Langley Research Center, where they have been using MakerBot Thing-O-Matics for a while to educate the public about 3D printing. In their personal fabrication lab, or “pFab Lab”, they are able to use the MakerBots for impressive sounding applications like “Electron Beam Free Form Fabrication Dual Feed Guide Wire Holder”, and “Artificial Magnetic Conducting Back plate”, and “Rocket Camera Mount”. And then there’s my personal favorite, “Pillow Tank”. They’ve prototyped these pieces for form and function.

This center has also been fantastic about bringing their Thing-O-Matics out to events. This summer, the group acquired a Replicator and on Saturday, Sept. 22, you’ll have the chance to visit with them for the Open House of the 95th Anniversary of the NASA Langley Research Center. Yes, that is correct, the ninety-fifth anniversary! The pFab Lab will be printing miniature space shuttle models to hand out to visitors. Given the retirement of the shuttle program, what a cool souvenir to have from NASA’s oldest center.

Don’t miss it! Go here to find out more.


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Tech Shop Opens Its Sixth US Location In Austin TX


Hey Texans, your state just got a whole lot Make-ier. Our friends at Tech Shop, who already have five locations (three in California, one in North Carolina, and one in Michigan) are about to launch their sixth location. The Round Rock, TX location, just north of Austin, features 17,000 square feet of tools and learning spaces for members to explore their brilliant ideas. Tech Shop and MakerBot have a great history together. In fact, that’s a picture of three of our staff members and a MakerBot Replicator at a Tech Shop above.

Here’s some background information if you’re not familiar with this cool company.

TechShop is a do-it-yourself workshop, sort of like a fitness club, that offers its members access to a complete range of tools and equipment, software, classes, personal coaching, and access to other creative people so you can build the things you have always wanted to make.  Membership is about $125 a month, and classes start at around $50.  They currently have over 5,000 active members system-wide.

The TechShop team is throwing a TechShop Austin-Round Rock Pre-Opening Party this Friday and Saturday, and they invite everyone in the Austin and Round Rock area who is interested in making things to attend.

Several awesome companies have been formed inside Tech Shop locations, and it is exciting to see them growing into a whole new region. If you want to get in on this free event tonight and learn more about Tech Shop, head over to their page.

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