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Food Share Wins GE FirstBuild Hack-a-Thon

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The maker community at GE FirstBuild joined forces with MakerBot Thingiverse for the Third Annual Hack-A-Thon at MakerBot’s Brooklyn, NY, headquarters. Inventors, educators, and 3D printing enthusiasts worked over the weekend to “think inside the icebox” — that is, to design features and 3D print prototypes for GE’s USB- and WiFi-enabled refrigerator, ChillHub, using the MakerBot 3D Ecoystem and Raspberry Pi computers provided by Seeed Studio. Six teams of innovators experimented with ChillHub to imagine new features and new possibilities.

On the line? A MakerBot Replicator Desktop 3D Printer and two rolls of filament for each member of the winning team. No small potatoes.

The winning team, headed by Bryan Berger of NY Hackathons, was Food Share, a way to display and share food from your refrigerator with neighbors. Food Share can detect freshness — so no pawning off overripe fruit, unless that’s your neighbor’s thing. Food Share would lead to less food waste and maybe more community potlucks.

Other inspired entries included Chiliflix, for movie recommendations based on eating habits; Fridge Pharm, for reminders to take chilled medications; Light Snack Stopper; which gates access between meals with a joystick game; and Pavlov’s Fridge, which unlocks treats when tasks  are completed.

Thanks to all the participants for bringing your A game, and congratulations to Food Share.

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MakerBot in the Classroom: A Resource for Educators

MakerBot in the Classroom: An Introduction to 3D Printing and Design

MakerBot has become an important tool in more than 5,000 schools throughout the United States, and others around the world. Many more teachers would like to introduce 3D printing to help their students learn to collaborate and solve problems, and prepare them for the jobs of the future. To teach something, however, you must first learn it yourself.

For teachers out there who may have never used a 3D printer before, MakerBot has created MakerBot in the Classroom: An Introduction to 3D Printing and Design. This handbook, which also has plenty of useful information for teachers already familiar with 3D printing, is divided into three sections: a primer on 3D printing technology; explanations of how to download, scan, and design models to print, and sample 3D printing projects. Each project introduces a different free 3D design software tool. For example, the Make Your Own Country, which casts students as surveyors of a new land, starts in Tinkercad.

You can download MakerBot in the Classroom for free if you’ve registered your MakerBot Replicator. A sample chapter and project are available free to anyone.

This handbook is part of an ongoing effort to provide better support for 3D printing in classrooms and on campus. Other materials are available at the new MakerBot Education Resource Center.

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Win a MakerBot Replicator for Yourself or Your School

Thingiverse Summer STEAM Challenges

School might be over, but the MakerBot Thingiverse will keep you learning all summer long. Thingiverse is launching five challenges, one for each STEAM subject: science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics. The first challenge closes on July 19, and the last closes on August 16, so you get the summer to design, iterate, and learn. The winner of each challenge will win a MakerBot Replicator Desktop 3D Printer.

Don’t know how to design for 3D printing? We think everyone can learn by using free and accessible tools like MakerBot Printshop, Tinkercad, MeshMixer, OpenSCAD, 123D Design, Sculptris, Sketchup, Morphi for iPad, and Blender.

Your School Can Win, Too

If you’re a schoolteacher or administrator who dreams about what your students could learn if only your school had a MakerBot Replicator, join the Our School Needs A 3D Printer group on Thingiverse. Each STEAM Challenge winner gets to choose a school from the group that will receive a MakerBot Replicator printer as well.

That makes ten lucky winners: five designers and five schools.The Thingiversity Summer STEAM Challenges are open to all ages and skill levels, and sometimes the simplest designs are the best ones.

Learn more >>

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MakerBot Desktop 3.7 | Faster Printing, Better Profiles

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The release of MakerBot Desktop 3.7 is full of upgrades and new features that’ll streamline and boost your next project. Make sure your download or upgrade your current version of MakerBot Desktop today.

DOWNLOAD NOW

Custom Profiles for Quicker Printing
Certain 3D prints need a little more TLC, and that can mean you‘ll want custom settings that may not apply to all your projects. That’s where the new Custom Profile Editor in MakerBot Desktop 3.7 comes into play. It allows you to edit properties of your print like infill and extruder speed, settings which can be saved as a template for future projects. Quick and Custom tabs let users of all levels create custom settings.

See More, Learn More
Looking to protect your home or business Wi-Fi network? If you’re operating on hidden Wi-Fi, you can still connect your MakerBot Replicator by entering the network name and password into MakerBot Desktop 3.7.

There’s also more data available about your MakerBot Replicator Smart Extruder. Open the device preferences window to get stats like temperature, total print time, and more.

Speed It Up
Help your project along by varying the layer height within a single print. Infill, for example, doesn’t need the same polish as the exterior. When different parts of your model can have different layer heights, the result is faster 3D printing with the same high quality.

UPGRADE TODAY

Have some questions? Want to share your latest 3D print with MakerBot? Send a message to [email protected].

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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.

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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?

LEARN MORE >>

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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.”

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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.

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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.

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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

 

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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

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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.

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“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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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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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