Posts Tagged ‘3d printing’

MakerBot Thingiverse Launches #MakerEd Challenge


3D printing has become a powerful tool in the classroom. It allows educators to teach 21st century skills and bring the design process to life through collaborative, project-based learning. For many educators, even those who recognize these benefits, integrating 3D printers in the classroom can still be difficult. Finding relevant projects and creating curricula are two major challenges.

To fill that gap, MakerBot recently added a new feature to Thingiverse. We’re proud to announce that people will now be able to share and discover 3D printing project ideas with detailed instructions and multimedia events. As the world’s largest design community, Thingiverse is already a popular destination for educators, so this feature should only enrich their experience by giving them access to more projects recommended by Thingiverse users around the globe.

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Red Bluff High School: The First School to Buy Two, Get One


Helping out a Healthcare Occupations Class at Red Bluff High School


No matter where you are or what you’re doing, get ready to cheer on those Spartans at Red Bluff High School! They’re celebrating a major first —and we’re celebrating with them. This high school in Northern California is the first school to Buy Two, Get One with MakerBot. They bought two MakerBot® Replicator® Desktop 3D Printers and received a refurbished model for free. Businesses can also participate with Buy Two, Give One.

To prepare their students for the jobs of the future, Red Bluff High School is going far beyond offering a garden variety education. Just ask Rochelle Barajas and Stan Twitchell; they’re both Project Lead the Way (PLTW) and Career and Technical Education (CTE) teachers there.

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Strategies for Funding a MakerBot Innovation Center


A MakerBot Innovation Center is a serious commitment to 3D printing. With it, a university can provide unique opportunities for students, faculty, and the community that would be impossible or very difficult to create otherwise. Those might include campus-wide access to 3D printing, a centralized hub for STEAM learning, cross-departmental collaboration, stronger relationships with local entrepreneurs, and regional notoriety for the university. Take a look at any university with an established MakerBot Innovation Center and you’ll find living proof.

For university educators and administrators out there, even if you’ve already decided that you want a MakerBot Innovation Center, you will still need to fund it. Since that funding process can vary greatly between universities, it isn’t always easy or straightforward to navigate. As a result, MakerBot is proud to offer Strategies for Funding a MakerBot Innovation Center at Your University. This white paper investigates and analyzes the funding process at universities with a MakerBot Innovation Center through six case studies.

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3D Printing Tissues and Organs with MakerBot

Let’s face it. The human body is an imperfect machine working in an imperfect world. For example, damaged heart tissue cannot repair itself. So anyone with a serious enough heart issue must wait for a transplant. Over 4,000 Americans are on the waiting list today.

Adam Feinberg, Professor at Carnegie Mellon and his colleagues are paving the way for a new breakthrough treatment using MakerBot’s 3D printers: custom-made tissues and organs for your body.

As their findings in the Journal of Science Advances demonstrate, Feinberg and his colleagues have cleared the first hurdle to this treatment. Before you can grow living cells into a tissue or organ, you first need a scaffold in the shape of an artery, organ, or tissue onto which to grow living cells. The problem is, collagen, alginate, and other proteins that might work won’t hold their shape if you just 3D print them. Read the rest of this entry »

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MakerBot 3D Printers Now Print 30% Faster

Screen Shot 2015-11-03 at 12.17.09 PM

At MakerBot we continuously improve our products to provide our customers with the best possible 3D printing experience. The latest example is MakerBot Desktop 3.8 where you can now 3D print designs 30% faster and with stronger structural support.

Upgrade Now!

“MakerBot’s latest software update allows our customers to turn their ideas into physical objects even faster, combining faster print speed with one click 3D printing,” said Nadav Goshen, president of MakerBot. “MakerBot’s leading 3D printing Ecosystem connects hardware with software and apps to provide a seamless 3D printing experience that is unmatched in the industry.”

Better, Faster Printing

MakerBot Desktop offers several different infill patterns that you can use to optimize your prints for strength or speed. In MakerBot Desktop 3.8, we’ve added the diamond infill pattern. In our testing with this pattern, most designs, like this Brilliant Cut Diamond by Cymon, will print stronger and 30% faster than on MakerBot Desktop 3.6.*

MakerBot has an in-house team dedicated to continuously improving print speed and quality by developing new slicing algorithms. Slicing is the process of turning a 3D design into a 3D printable file. The result of this team’s work is the new diamond infill pattern, which allows the extruder to move faster during turns. Diamond infill is also extruded more consistently than other infill patterns, making it structurally stronger.

The new speed improvements are a result of the diamond infill pattern in conjunction with the variable layer height feature introduced in MakerBot Desktop 3.7. With variable layer height printing, the inside of a 3D print, or the infill, can be 3D printed at a thicker layer height than the outer layers, or the shell. The more your object is printed at that higher layer height, the faster the print will be overall.

Better Print Time Estimates

Want to know when your print will finish? MakerBot Desktop 3.8 features a new and improved algorithm for print time estimation, so your print will be finished when you expect it to be finished.

One Click 3D Printing

MakerBot Desktop 3.8 streamlines the print flow to give you one-click 3D printing. You no longer have to wait for slicing to complete before being prompted to start your print. Your print will start immediately after your model is sliced. This release is all about getting you from the design to a 3D print faster.

Update Details

Make sure to upgrade to the latest version of MakerBot Desktop today if you have a MakerBot Replicator, Replicator 2, MakerBot Replicator 2X, or any Fifth Generation MakerBot Replicator 3D Printer.

Upgrade Now!

Thing-O-Matic Users: you’ll want to stay with MakerBot Desktop 3.7 or earlier.

After installing MakerBot Desktop 3.8, you should also upgrade your 3D printer to Firmware 1.8. Taking advantage of the fact that MakerBot 3D Printers are Wi-Fi connected, Firmware 1.8 allows you to update to future firmware versions right from your 3D printer.

About MakerBot Desktop 3.8 and Firmware 1.8

MakerBot Desktop provides a complete, free 3D printing solution for discovering, managing, and sharing your 3D prints. From MakerBot Desktop, you can access more than a million free designs in MakerBot Thingiverse, the world’s largest 3D design community.
MakerBot’s Firmware allows you to take advantage of the latest features and improvements for your MakerBot 3D printer.


*Only applies to 3D prints with infill.

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Celebrating a Maker Milestone: 1 Million Uploads on MakerBot’s Thingiverse

Thingiverse 1 Million Designs Uploaded

Thingiverse, the world’s largest 3D design community, just reached a landmark one million uploads and 200 million downloads! What began in 2008 as a website exclusively for the burgeoning maker community has grown into a robust gateway to 3D printing and 3D design for hundreds of thousands of people worldwide. Educators, professional engineers, designers, and 3D printing enthusiasts are all taking part.

“We believe that the impact Thingiverse has had on 3D printing and 3D design in its seven years is tremendous,” said Nadav Goshen, president of MakerBot. “Thingiverse has helped popularize 3D printing by creating a vibrant community and making it easy to discover, make and share 3D designs.  It has become the go-to place on the Internet for anyone interested in 3D design and 3D printing. We are excited to see what people come up with next.”

MakerBot founded Thingiverse in a Brooklyn-based hacker space so there was a place on the Internet where people could share designs for physical objects. At the time, such a site didn’t exist. Most of Thingiverse’s first users were small-scale manufacturers, engineers, or people who owned a 3D printer. During its first six months, the site averaged between 30 and 40 uploads per week. Today, Thingiverse boasts more than 2 million active monthly users and 1.7 million downloads per month. It is also the home to a number of competitions like the Assistive Technology and Fall STEAM Challenges, which invite community members to collaborate and create across the globe.

MakerBot Thingiverse has evolved from a community geared around simply sharing 3D designs on the web into a broad community of collaborators. One of many milestones in the site’s history was the 2013 introduction of Thingiverse Customizer, which allows Thingiverse users to easily customize existing 3D designs. Customizer not only made 3D design more accessible for those who aren’t familiar with professional 3D design software but also opened the door for more collaboration among its users.

One example of the collaborations on Thingiverse is the creation of the Robohand. Through Thingiverse, a woodworker from Johannesburg, South Africa, and a theatrical prop designer from Seattle, Washington, were able to work together across 10,000 miles to create a prosthetic hand that has been used to better the lives of hundreds of people across the globe. Now, a larger community of doctors, hobbyists, educators and engineers on Thingiverse continue to improve upon the original Robohand design, with the goal of enabling low cost prosthetics for people who otherwise wouldn’t get them.

Thingiverse also offers a glimpse into the use of 3D printing today. Popular Thingiverse categories include Ikea hacks, fashion items, toys and games, and art. Some of the most popular uploads of all time are the Low Poly Mask, the Amazing Gyroscopic Cube Gears! and practical items like the fully assembled 3D printable wrench and an earbud holder. To celebrate one million uploads, MakerBot is giving away 10 large popular prints from Thingiverse. To enter the giveaway, simply fill out this form.

Educators across the country are using Thingiverse to teach their students problem solving and collaboration to encourage them to apply ideas and designs to real-world problems. According to MakerBot’s market research, 79 percent of teachers who use MakerBot 3D printers use Thingiverse in the classroom*.  MakerBot also offers dedicated resources for educators on Thingiverse, such as design challenges and Jumpstart, which serves as an introduction to a number of free design programs that can help people bring their ideas to the physical world.  

Find more information about Thingiverse.


* Online surveys were conducted over a period of four months with 1300+ respondents using MakerBot 3D printers in an educational institution.

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MakerBot 3D Printed Products with Voodoo Manufacturing


Ever need 150 custom napkin holders, or 5,000 keychains for your corporate event? How about a few hundred snowflakes for your retail display? Wedding favors, custom widgets, company swag? MakerBot can help.

We partner with a network of vendors who rapidly 3D print products, logos, models, or parts to your specification.

Voodoo Manufacturing, one of our top vendors, gave us a behind-the-scenes look at how your projects come to 3D printed life.

Who is Voodoo?
Voodoo was founded this year by a team of former MakerBot engineers. With more than 100 MakerBot Replicator 3D Printers, they use the MakerBot Innovation Center Management Platform to manage their workflow, and they can help us help you with just about any project you dream up.

How does it work?
First, check out the MakerBot 3D Printed Products page. Then, gather your details and request a quote for anything between 50 and 10,000 units. We will forward your request to a partner like Voodoo.

They will then set up an introductory phone call with you to determine the scope of your project and answer questions. If needed, they have designers who can help turn your concept into a ready-to-print design. Based on your specifications, they’ll put together a comprehensive quote. Most projects are completed within one week, while large orders of 10,000 parts can take up to three weeks.

So, what are you waiting for?
To get the filament spool rolling, request a quote now.

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Making a Difference for Assistive Technology

Kim was born without arms and legs, and needed to pick things up with her mouth. Zebreda needed a way to feed herself after her assisted living facility would no longer cover the expense of a helper, while Shari needed a way to transfer herself from a wheelchair.

Every person with a disability has a unique experience, and no solution fits all. That’s where TOM comes in.

Tikkun Olam Makers is an Israel-based nonprofit whose name means “repairing the world.” TOM brings together “need-knowers” like Kim or Zebreda with experts like mechanical engineers or exoskeleton scientists. Over the course of 72 hours, the teams solve real problems that the need-knowers experience in their daily lives.

MakerBot was inspired and honored to be part of TOM’s fourth and most recent such event in San Francisco last month, where more than 120 people came together at TechShop to form 18 teams and solve 18 problems. TOM partnered with and United Cerebral Palsy of North Bay, which identified the need-knowers, while tools and support were provided by MakerBot, TechShop, and others.

With the need-knower to test and identify pain points, and so many tools available, teams were able to iterate quickly. Many tried out several failed concepts before they landed on a viable solution.

For example, Shari is able to pull but not push, so many designs that would work for other wheelchair transfers didn’t work for her. And with Kim, one prototype for a grasping device put too much strain on her neck; another felt uncomfortable in her mouth.

If one team needed the skills of another team’s experts, TOM would connect them to collaborate. That way, the teams could arrive at as many solutions as possible by the end of 72 hours.

TOM recognizes that there is a cost to not integrating the disabled population into society. The solutions explored at the TOM Makeathon began with one person’s challenge but many will apply to others. About 15% of the world population, or one billion people, live with a disability, according to the World Health Organization. In the end, though, helping even one person to live better is a victory.

As one of the need-knowers told us, “I wake up every morning, and I can guarantee myself that I’m gonna have obstacles… it’s the little things during those days that can help make those challenges a little easier — that makes the biggest difference.”

All but one of the teams used a MakerBot Replicator during the 72-hour makeathon. The many 3D printable solutions are shared on Thingiverse and can be scaled or modified to help another person with a similar challenge somewhere else in the world.

Have great ideas about how you can make someone’s life a little easier? Check out our latest Thingiverse Challenge to design something great for a fellow human.

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Five 3D Printers for Five Schools


This summer, we asked Thingiverse users to put on their thinking caps for five Summer STEAM Challenges, which called for 3D printable designs in science, technology, engineering, art, and math. At the same time, schools across the country made their cases for why their school needed a 3D printer.

The STEAM challenge winners each received a MakerBot Replicator Desktop 3D Printer of their own, plus the chance to give one to a participating school.

These five deserving schools have big plans for their 3D printers, and we’re so excited to see what they make.

1. The Make it Float challenge winner, David Choi, sent a MakerBot Replicator to Lincoln Park High School, in Chicago, IL. Lincoln Park piloted a 3D printing and physical computing program in which students train to teach others, and this year, they’re going to roll out the curriculum to 1500 students.

2. Citrus Hills Intermediate School in Corona, CA, was chosen by the Light it Up challenge winner, German mechanical engineering student Christoph Queck. The school has just welcomed technology teacher Leanne Edwards, who has a background in 3D modeling, and will use its MakerBot Replicator to supplement her curriculum in design, science, math, and history.

“This really allows students’ designs to come alive and their excitement to grow exponentially as they see their hard work come to fruition,” says Edwards.

3. Catch the Wind winner Mike Blakemore gave a MakerBot Replicator to Almaden County School in San Jose, CA. The middle school has been running successful 3D printing electives with a borrowed printer, and plans to use their new MakerBot Replicator to devote a whole 12-week period to 3D printing design and creation.

“More students will have a chance to create more than one iteration of a prototype, which is an especially important part of the design thinking model,” says Mary Beth Gay, the Director of Technology at Almaden County Schools.

4. See the World challenge winner Chris L. sent a MakerBot Replicator to the residential Illinois School for the Deaf, whose students plan to customize and 3D print cochlear implants and hearing aids with the help of their expert audiology, design, and IT staff.

5. Build a Castle winner Will Webber chose Georgia Connections Academy, a virtual charter school that wants to build a mobile 3D printing lab to travel around the Peach State and bring hands-on STEM experiences to their community of 4,000 students.

Nearly 90 schools entered for a chance to receive a 3D printer, and the recipients were chosen from this list of 10 finalists.

Thanks to all who participated, and congratulations to the winning designers and schools.

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7 Life Skills You Can Teach with a 3D Printer


Learning traditional subjects with 3D printing teaches students practical lessons, like modeling in 3D design software, but it also helps kids develop crucial life skills.

As Randy Asher, the Brooklyn Technical High School principal, says, “It’s not about teaching the tool, but about using the tool to teach.”

Brooklyn Tech, the largest high school for STEM subjects in the United States, incorporated six MakerBot Replicator Desktop 3D Printers into its curriculum in 2012. Now the school has over 20.

Asher knows that students with access to 3D printing learn how to create a 3D model, how to orient a print, and how to level the build plate. He knows this hands-on approach helps them gain a fuller, lasting grasp of science, technology, engineering, and math concepts.

He also knows that the skills a student needs to achieve success in school, work, and life go beyond the classroom, and that these skills can be gained through the use of 3D printing in the curriculum. Here’s our roundup of the top seven:

1. There are many ways to learn.
Students can learn about history, for example, from a book or a documentary, but a 3D printer transforms this topic into a tactile experience. Students can interact with 3D printed models in real time, stimulating their imagination and deepening their understanding.

Teacher Heather Calabro of Mid-Pacific Institute of Hawaii showcased this when she asked her ninth graders to pretend they were a person involved in World War II and had them design an artifact related to that historical figure. The artifacts came together to form what Calabro calls a “biographical timeline” that gave both students and visitors a different understanding of the past.

2. Think critically to solve problems.
Identifying pain points and then iterating until you find a working solution is a process taught across schools and disciplines. At the all-boys Browning School in New York, students use 3D printing to learn engineering concepts and design basics.

Jeremy Sambuca, the former director of academic technology at Browning, says:

We’re in a society where winning and being perfect is going to get you into a good college. And with engineering, those concepts are very difficult because your product is not always going to come out perfect. Allowing the boys to troubleshoot their way through it is making them better problem-solvers.

Hands-on practice in real time helps students become invested not just in learning the design process but in making it a habit that stretches beyond class assignments.

3. Resilience builds confidence. And confidence is important to succeed.
Going through multiple iterations of a design allows kids to fail early and often. Sambuca says that using 3D printers to learn the design process is “making [the students] more resilient. So that they can build confidence in themselves knowing that, hey, it’s OK to fail.”

3D printing helps students to see failure as an opportunity to persist and succeed. Empowered to control a project themselves, students necessarily form a sense of leadership, ownership, and pride. Check out how Browning uses MakerBot to empower their students.

4. Competition can be healthy.
Eighth graders at A. MacArthur Barr Middle School in Nanuet, NY, use 3D printing as part of their yearly CO2 drag race, led by technology teacher Vinny Garrison. Students create lightweight race cars, learning the principles of engineering and design — and the principle of healthy competition. They use their 3D printers to design faster moving wheels.

It’s a project the kids look forward to all year, and one they remember, says Garrison.
Check out how 3D printing gets kids across the finish line.

5. Collaboration is necessary.
Brooklyn Technical High School’s civil engineering club designed a hydroelectric dam that harvests kinetic energy from flowing water with a 3D printed turbine, then converts that energy into electricity. To accomplish this smoothly and successfully, they distributed tasks such as project leadership, design, and photography according to each student’s strengths.

6. Communicate clearly.
North Carolina fifth grade teacher Kelly Hines says her students learned communication skills just by having a 3D printer in their classroom, because they had to explain the printer to curious classroom visitors.

7. Have empathy for others.
The 3D printer also unearthed empathy and social awareness, Hines told teacher and author Vicki Davis. When her students saw the Robohand and other prosthetics, Hines says, they saw their MakerBot Replicator as a tool for becoming more aware of the needs of others, and learning how they could help.

Any lesson plan will teach math and science concepts. But when students have access to 3D printers, they can pick up skills they will use on the job and in life.

To teach your students life skills with 3D printing, try starting here.

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