Starter Lab | Design Students Prototype Souvenirs

Willy Wong is a designer and creative director who teaches at the School of Visual Arts and the Parsons School of Design. This spring, Wong taught a collaborative studio, a course in which Parsons students work with industry partners to solve real-world problems. In Wong’s studio, students developed tourism projects celebrating Paterson, NJ, once a proud center of American manufacturing.

For three consecutive sessions, MakerBot hosted Wong and his students, giving them access to a MakerBot Starter Lab to learn about 3D printing and develop their ideas.

Jumpstart 3D Printing

Wong had never before used 3D printers in teaching. “I’m really excited about it, because the design industry has been talking about light manufacturing and prototyping, and students haven’t had access to that type of environment,” he said.

“There needs to be enough equipment for all students to test and explore. It’s not enough to have one computer in a class of 20 students.”

More 3D Printers, More Access

A MakerBot Starter Lab comes with a half dozen 3D printers — four MakerBot Replicators, a MakerBot Replicator Mini, and a Replicator Z18 — and a MakerBot Digitizer. It also includes hardware, accessories, supplies, and training that help organizations get introduced to 3D printing. Starter Labs are fast and easy to implement, and can scale as your 3D printing demands grow.


Wong expressed the wish that “every student had access” to a 3D printer “so they could all be creating prototypes of their ideas.”

Interested in seeing how your institution can benefit from a MakerBot Starter Lab?


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MakerBot Stories | A University’s Year of Innovation

When Katherine Wilson decided to apply to graduate school, she looked at what technologies she’d get to use. At the art school at the State University of New York at New Paltz, she said, “I knew there was a strong 3D printing base.”

In her last semester, New Paltz built on that base by opening a MakerBot Innovation Center in the basement of the arts building. With access to 30 MakerBot Replicator 3D Printers, Wilson could experiment as never before.

A year later, Wilson is still at New Paltz, one of three new employees 3D printing with students as well as with local entrepreneurs and companies. “I get to see people realize dreams and goals that they’ve had for years,” says Wilson, now the assistant director of the Hudson Valley Advanced Manufacturing Center. “I get to see students learn new techniques and develop as artists and engineers.”


In only a year, the MakerBot Innovation Center has had a profound impact on New Paltz students and faculty. It enabled New Paltz to offer a new mechanical engineering major and a two-semester certificate in design and digital fabrication. Ten New Paltz students work in the MakerBot Innovation Center as interns, helping area entrepreneurs to develop their concepts and bring them to market.

Inspired by Snow

Take Rob Kunstadt, a patent lawyer who had an idea for a construction material that, like snow, is light and loose until it’s packed together, and then it locks up like cement. To test and prove his concept, Kunstadt needed more than a thousand hollow dodecahedra — 12-sided shapes.

Kunstadt spent two days in his own shop cutting PVC pipe with a drill press and a band saw, then spent $300 to get the pieces tumbled and smoothed. Still, he could only approximate his desired shape. “There’s no way you’re going to machine a dodecahedron,” he said. “You either need molding or 3D printing.”

The 3D print services he found quoted a price of $1 per dodecahedron — or $1,500 for 1,500 pieces. An injection mold would cost $10,000, and require a minimum run of tens of thousands of pieces. Injection molding might eventually be more economical, but Kunstadt didn’t even know if his idea would work yet, and didn’t want to waste precious capital.

“People starting businesses have very little funds,” he says. “Whatever they can save will make their resources go further. You’ve got to try a lot of things.”

Then Kunstadt saw a local newspaper story about the MakerBot Innovation Center at New Paltz, about 40 minutes south of his home in Woodstock. New Paltz gave Kunstadt a quote of 30 cents apiece, or about $400 for 1,500 pieces. Not only were the MakerBot Replicator 2X Experimental 3D Printers at New Paltz able to cheaply make the shape he wanted, but the dodecahedra were 35% lighter than the ones Kunstadt could make himself.


What’s more, the ease of visiting the New Paltz campus eliminates the challenges of working with vendors in China: remote communication, expensive misunderstandings. Kunstadt, who has worked with inventors for 35 years, sees “a huge benefit” in having a MakerBot Innovation Center nearby.

Funding Yields More Funding

Initial funding for New Paltz’s MakerBot Innovation Center came quickly, in the form of two $250,000 grants, from a local foundation and an individual philanthropist. “We took those pieces, built a curriculum, got started on things,” says New Paltz President Donald Christian. “And with that momentum were able to build into a SUNY 2020 grant.” The $10 million challenge grant is paying for a new engineering building and innovation hub. New Paltz had applied unsuccessfully for SUNY 2020 funding once before, and the MakerBot Innovation Center helped put their application over the top this time.

The MakerBot Innovation Center has had a “remarkable impact on our campus, on our students, on the way we are perceived in the region and many of the ways we interact with and support the Hudson Valley in New York,” says Christian.


Throughout the year, President Christian meets with groups of New Paltz students to ask and answer questions. He wants to know what they like best. At one of these gatherings, a young man glowed about his internship at the MakerBot Innovation Center. As Christian tells it, the student said, “‘It’s so cool for me to work on a real-world problem that industry wants us to solve, and I’m working with other students.’ And, he said, ‘I’m a first-year engineering major. I never would have guessed that I would have an experience like this in my first year.’”

The rest of New Paltz has also been pleased. “3D is new enough, exciting enough, innovative enough that that in and of itself has brought more focus to the institution beyond 3D,” Christian says.

“Businesses, academia, media, the general public, government officials — all of those folks are now being pulled into SUNY New Paltz,” adds Laurence Gottlieb, CEO of the Hudson Valley Economic Development Corporation. “This is exactly what we wanted to happen.”

What can a MakerBot Innovation Center do for your institution?

Learn more >>

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GE FirstBuild Joins Third Annual Hack-A-Thon



Join MakerBot Thingiverse and GE FirstBuild at the Third Annual Hack-A-Thon at MakerBot headquarters, in Brooklyn, NY, on June 13th and 14th. It’s free to enter — but space is limited.

Register Now

Think Inside the Icebox
Inventors, designers, educators, engineers, and 3D printing enthusiasts will use MakerBot Replicator 3D Printers to prototype connected devices for the home. Small teams will work closely to innovate and explore solutions made possible by 3D printing.

Participants will have access to USB- and Wi-Fi-enabled GE refrigerators, Raspberry Pi’s provided by Seeed Studio, and MakerBot Replicators to aid in their hardware projects, and judges will declare a winner. Prizes like a 5th Generation MakerBot Replicator will be awarded for the best inventions, so make sure you sign up while there’s still space.

Sign Up Today

GE FirstBuild
For those looking to make the home smarter, better, faster, and stronger, GE FirstBuild is a “community dedicated to designing, engineering, building, and selling the next generation of major home appliances.” MakerBot and FirstBuild have a strong partnership committed to improving the home with the help of desktop 3D printing. Learn more about GE FirstBuild.

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MakerBot Stories | Fixtures for Our Factory — and Yours


The section of the MakerBot factory where the MakerBot Replicator Z18 gets made didn’t get much overhead light. So fluorescent tubes were hung above each workstation. The assembly-line workers weren’t used to the brightness, however, and some switched them off.

Scott Hraska, manufacturing engineering manager at the Brooklyn factory, knew that good lighting improves worker safety, productivity, and quality control. So he asked an intern to design a rectangular cap to cover the light switch; there are two holes for zip ties to fasten it to the workstation frame.


“That’s all it does,” Hraska says of the light switch cover. “But that’s something you can’t buy — and it works really well.”

Factories need lots of things you can’t buy: custom jigs and fixtures that hold parts in place as products are assembled. And all of these fixtures can combine to make your product better and everyone happier: assembly-line workers; cost-conscious executives; customers who tell their colleagues about their experience with your product.

Ordering a custom aluminum fixture can take $10,000 and two or three weeks to get it machined, plus a thorough review and approval process. With a MakerBot Replicator, a company can leverage the 3D modeling knowledge of its engineering team to transform its manufacturing process, becoming more nimble and innovative.


That’s what MakerBot does in its factory. To set up production lines for the fifth generation of MakerBot Replicator 3D printers, creating jigs and fixtures on earlier models saved “hundreds of thousands of dollars,” says Diana Pincus, MakerBot’s plant manager. “Without the Replicator 2 and 2X, we’d still have been able to start the line, but it would have been more costly, less efficient, and a lot more stress.”

3D printers can also create shapes that are too complex to machine. Testing an idea requires a few hours and a few dollars in filament, not a series of meetings to justify a $10,000 expense. For situations that require something more durable than extruded plastic, a 3D printed prototype will help perfect the fixture before a machine shop produces it.

Creating fixtures on a MakerBot Replicator, Pincus says, “is all leading to the goal of world-class manufacturing.” It supports MakerBot’s commitment to lean manufacturing methodologies like 5S, kaizen, and kanban.


It also makes it easier to incorporate employees’ suggestions on how to improve the manufacturing process. At one station, Hraska pointed out a cup that holds screws that a worker had asked for: “Make it in two hours, and the guy is your best friend,” he says.

Before coming to MakerBot, Hraska never worked with a 3D printer before. “Once I realized I could make things, the biggest limitation was the size of the printer,” Hraska says. “And now we have the Z18.” For fixtures that require specialized materials or dissolvable supports, the MakerBot factory has a Fortus 900mc.

Most fixtures, however, can be made on a MakerBot Replicator, like the Raspberry Pi case designed by manufacturing process engineer Sydney Dahl. The case, which also houses a 2.8″ screen, allows MakerBot to replace a $500 tablet with a $100 custom computer.


This Raspberry Pi case is one of nine things used at the MakerBot factory now collected on Thingiverse. It also includes holsters for drills and barcode scanners, and other attachments to 80/20 and Bosch Rexroth workstation frames. The possibilities are limitless; MakerBot also makes fixtures for wayfinding systems.


Let MakerBot help you find your way to better manufacturing.

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MakerBot Mobile 2.1 | Upgrades for iOS and Android

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Managing your projects remotely is easy with the MakerBot family of apps. Now, for the first time, iOS and Android users are getting the same mobile experience thanks to the MakerBot Mobile 2.1 upgrade for iOS and Android, making your 3D printing experience even better.

Download MakerBot Mobile 2.1

Control Your Printer
Through your mobile device, you can now complete the attachment of the MakerBot Replicator Smart Extruder to your 3D printer after it’s been mounted. You can view your printer’s status from anywhere in the app, and enable or disable remote monitoring of your 3D printer.

Additionally, there’s more information on 3D printer preferences in areas like cloud services and firmware version.

Get The Details
The recent upgrade to MakerBot Mobile also means information about printer name, statistics (completed prints, total print time and more) are available through your mobile device.

High Quality Graphics
For iOS users operating an iPhone 6 Plus, projects are getting clearer than ever. Retina HD Graphics compatible with the latest iPhone make MakerBot Mobile crisp and visually stunning.

Upgrade MakerBot Mobile 2.1

Feel free to send us your ideas and feedback to [email protected]

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MakerBot Mobile | Download 2.0 on Android for Better Printing


MakerBot Mobile 2.0 for Android is the update your smart phone has been waiting for. Upgraded and featuring new ways to 3D print, MakerBot Mobile 2.0 is helping bridge the gap between iOS and Android features.

Download Now

Print From Virtually Anywhere
If you have an Android smart phone with a Wi-Fi or Cellular data connection, you can now 3D print from virtually anywhere. Access and monitor any of the latest line of MakerBot Replicator Desktop 3D Printers, whether the printer is at the office, in the classroom, or waiting for you at home. When you start a print and can’t be near your MakerBot 3D Printer, you can remotely check on its status with the onboard camera feed to ensure it’s still printing.


Get The Details
Want more? We’re releasing version 2.1 soon, in which you’ll be able to access various device preferences and notifications on Android.

Upgrade Today

Have questions or feedback about MakerBot Mobile 2.0 for Android? Send your comments to [email protected].

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3D Hubs | Think Globally, 3D Print Locally


Ever since MakerBot started, we’ve been steadily expanding our 3D ecosystem with new features for our 3D printing and scanning hardware, software, firmware, and services. Now, we’re adding a new, exciting partnership.

3D Hubs is the world’s largest 3D printing network, with close to 10,000 3D printer operators. Need something printed? Log in to 3D Hubs and they’ll find you a printer. What happens when the world’s largest 3D printer network and MakerBot Thingiverse, the world’s largest 3D design community, team up? A better experience for users and designers.


Reliable 3D Printing Right Around The Corner
Accessibility is the big idea behind our latest partnership with 3D Hubs. It’s our hope that this collaboration will provide an opportunity to those who don’t yet own a 3D printer to join the growing MakerBot Thingiverse community.

For the launch, we’ve recruited a handful of Thingiverse power users to make their designs available for easy printing. Just look for the “Print with 3D Hubs” button on the item’s Thingiverse thing page. Click it to set up a 3D Hubs account, choose a location, and order a 3D print of the item.

Arian Croft (dutchmogul), the creator of Pocket-Tactics and co-founder of Ill Gotten Games, is a prolific and popular 3D designer with hundreds of designs on Thingiverse.

Quincy Robinson (3DKitBash) is a toy industry professional with a history of award-winning and noteworthy innovations that cater to Fortune 500 companies.

Isaac Budmen (ibudmen) is author of The Book on 3D Printing and is a designer of sculptures, mechanical parts, and amazing architectural designs.

Walter Hsiao (walter) is a prolific 3D designer who specializes in parts and accessories for everyday living.

Nervous System designs an assortment of jewelry, art, and housewares inspired by science.

Simplus Design creates beautiful 3D printed housewares designed by founders Sebastian Misiurek and Arianna Lebed.

Laura Taalman (mathgrrl) is a professor, mathematician, blogger, and maker who 3D printed something every day for a year.

Bold Machines, created by MakerBot co-founder Bre Pettis, partners with innovators to explore new approaches to industrial and personal applications, as well as fabrication through 3D printing.


No Printer? No Problem.
With over 1,800 MakerBot 3D Printers around the world registered on 3D Hubs, it shouldn’t be hard to find a Hub near you ready to take your order. Hubs offer different methods for getting you a finished print, from pickup to shipping options. Visit the 3D Hubs website to look for the closest Hub.

Giving Credit Where It’s Due
And when you order, you have the option of tipping the designer who made the item to show your appreciation (and reward their genius). Suggested amounts will be shown on the thing page.


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An Announcement

At MakerBot, we continue to evolve at an incredible pace. We’ve grown more than 600% from 2012 to 2014 – in short, we’ve grown incredibly fast.

As a company that’s focused on leading-edge innovation, we’ve learned to embrace change in order to stay focused.

Today, we at MakerBot are re-organizing our business in order to focus on what matters most to our customers. As part of this, we have implemented expense reductions, downsized our staff and closed our three MakerBot retail locations.

With these changes, we will focus our efforts on improving and iterating our products, growing our 3D ecosystem, shifting our retail focus to our national partners and expanding our efforts in the professional and education markets.

“These organizational moves are part of the continued scaling of MakerBot,” said David Reis, chief executive officer of Stratasys.

At MakerBot, we’re proud of being a highly innovative company that is leading the new product category of desktop 3D printing. We’ve experienced significant growth since inception, and achieved market leadership by iteratively testing, proving and pivoting our business.

We look forward to putting the power of desktop 3D printing in the hands of even more people in 2015.

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MakerBot | Live Demos & More at 3D Print Design Week

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The 3D Print Design Show is hitting the Jacob Javits Center in New York City this April 16th and 17th, and MakerBot is showing up big. The MakerBot Booth is hosting exciting and engaging live demonstrations, a MakerBot Starter Lab, sample 3D prints, and prizes. The event is free if you register in advance, so sign up today.

Register Now

Interactive Design Bars
Join MakerBot at the 3D Print Design Show and head to our Interactive Design Bars. We’ll be providing live software demonstrations throughout the day, led by experts from the likes of Pixologic, Autodesk, SOLIDWORKS, and more. You’ll have the chance to use the featured software thanks to gear like Creative Pen provided by our hardware partner Wacom.

MakerBot Studio will also be on hand. The team will be giving live design demonstrations that show off the skills that contribute to 3D Design Services by MakerBot and the MakerBot Digital Store.

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Engaging Discussions at MakerBot Sessions
The “MakerBot Sessions: MakerBot Learning and Speaker Series” will be held at the MakerBot Theater located directly behind our booth. On April 16th, MakerBot Learning will host workshops focused on how to get up and running faster with your MakerBot Replicator 3D Printer, tips on 3D design, and ideas on integrating 3D printing into your workflow. The afternoon will feature an exciting discussion on the 3D print and design industry by experts from The Foundry, Pixologic, and SOLIDWORKS.

On Friday, April 17th, Autodesk hosts a panel of 3D printing enthusiasts and explorers from the fields of architecture, product design, K-12 education, as well as representatives from SUNY New Paltz. Stop by the MakerBot Booth for the full schedule.

Sign Up For Free

Did Somebody Say Prizes?
At the MakerBot booth, we’ll be giving out great prizes all weekend. Guests can enter for a chance to win gear from brands like Wacom, Modo, Pixologic, Tinkercad, and Simplus Designs. You can even enter for the chance to win a MakerBot Replicator 3D Printer!

There will also be MakerBot Starter Lab on hand, as well as a host of 3D models, including large-scale pieces from teams at MakerBot Studio, Perkins+Will, Alvaro Uribe Design, and Simplus Design.

We can’t wait to meet you at our booth at 3D Print Design Week. See you this weekend!

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MakerBot PrintShop 1.5 | Bring Your Drawings To Life With Shape Maker

You’ve got great ideas and your full sketchbook is proof of that. Unfortunately, you don’t yet have the 3D design skills to bring those ideas to life. Until now. Enter Shape Maker, an exciting new tool in MakerBot PrintShop 1.5. Shape Maker brings your drawings, doodles, ideas, photos, and scans from 2D to 3D, converting your projects into 3D printable files.

Download Now

Snap, Adjust, 3D Print
It’s easy to use Shape Maker. Designed for the iPad and built right into PrintShop 1.5, Shape Maker is intuitive, relying on simple gestures to adjust the details of your 3D print.

-Step 1: Take a picture of your drawing, or upload an image from your iPad’s camera roll.
-Step 2: Scale and crop your image to get the desired shape, using the image balance slider to get it just right.
-Step 3: Save, 3D print, and share your file!

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It’s All In The Lines
We put together some tips to help you get the most out of Shape Maker. It’s simple and fun to use, but using easy-to-capture images makes Shape Maker even simpler.

-Thick black lines on a white background work best. We suggest using a black felt marker. Pictures or designs saved to your iPad’s camera roll should have a similar contrast.
-When taking a photo of your design, reduce shadows as much as possible to help ensure a usable capture.
-You can also use illustration software to make a black on white graphic, save it as an image file, and then save the image to your camera roll. Once you’re in PrintShop 1.5, you can upload the image directly from your iPad’s camera roll.

We’re excited to see what you make with Shape Maker.

Get PrintShop 1.5 Today

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