With “From the Makers”, we’re opening up MakerBot to give you a peek inside, introduce you to the innovators who create our products and services, and let you know how we’re doing with our plans, challenges, and progress.
Our first “From the Maker” featured the MakerBot Digital Products team and how they’re working to continuously improve apps and firmware to make the MakerBot desktop 3D printing experience even easier and more accessible.
Today, we’re talking with Jordan Brehove. As VP of Professional Services, Jordan is dedicated to creating and growing the services MakerBot needs to meet the evolving requirements of our professional customers. He currently oversees MakerBot Learning, MakerBot Support, and MakerBot Innovation Centers.
What is a MakerBot Innovation Center?
First, let’s talk about the why. We created MakerBot Innovation Centers for customers who approached us for help in setting up and managing large groups of MakerBot 3D printers. Since we had two large “botfarms” ourselves, we’d already learned some of the advantages and challenges of working with large groups of 3D printers, and had put some thought into how to best link them, manage them, and use them.
Now, the what. As Jordan explains, a MakerBot Innovation Center is “a centralized, scalable 3D printing solution” composed of MakerBot Replicator 3D printers, software, supplies, and services. The solution is designed to empower your organization to innovate faster, collaborate better, and compete more effectively.
A MakerBot Innovation Center is also a great example of how MakerBot is continuously working to push 3D printing innovation forward. Beyond that, it’s taking the Real-Time Prototyping achievable with a single MakerBot Replicator 3D Printer and scaling it up to serve the needs of an entire school or business. A MakerBot Innovation Center enables an organization to accelerate the development of innovative ideas and products, and approach organizational creativity and collaboration in a completely new way.
More on that below. Let’s get into the components of a MakerBot Innovation Center first. Components that can, by the way, be completely customized for your organization.
Hardware and Supplies
The most visible components of a MakerBot Innovation Center are “the printers, the scanners, the filament, and the racking system” that optimizes the footprint of a large number of 3D printers.
We generally define a MakerBot Innovation Center as comprised of between 30 and 100 3D printers. For example, the SUNY New Paltz MakerBot Innovation Center has an array of 30 MakerBot Replicator 3D Printers. Here at MakerBot in Brooklyn, we have two MakerBot Innovation Centers of our own, each running with more than 100 MakerBot Replicator 3D Printers.
Software: MakerBot Innovation Center Management Platform
How do we do it? In the beginning, it was with a lot of sweat and shoe leather. But all that effort gave us the experience we needed to design and build the MakerBot Innovation Center Management Platform, a seamless solution for managing large groups of MakerBot Replicator 3D Printers. Jordan describes it as the software “core” of an Innovation Center.
The easy-to-use software application, says Jordan, “allows for queue management, people to get in line, submit prints, manage those prints. Once…[3D models] are sliced you can allocate them to different printers.”
He continues, “You can actually see videos of what’s printing…You can even tell what color filament is in the printer when you’re about to turn a print on.” Along with that, Jordan says, you can see “all types of metrics about hours printed, number of prints, and what’s been printed” on each 3D printer.
In short, the MakerBot Innovation Center Management Platform turns the arduous task of managing 100+ printers into an enjoyable experience, “So you’re able to manage both at that micro level, by printer, and the macro level, what’s going on with the entire Innovation Center.”
Services: Training, Consulting, and Support
But Jordan’s team doesn’t just ship hardware and software to your location and leave you to it. Every MakerBot Innovation Center includes an array of services so you can be confident we’ll be with you every step of the way.
For example, every MakerBot Innovation Center includes education provided by our expert MakerBot Learning instructors. We deliver training in various aspects of 3D printing for stakeholders, users, and for the technicians managing the printers.
There’s also an optional Consulting Service, to help get people up and running faster, and of course, Support. MakerBot offers MakerBot Innovation Centers our highest level of support possible, the MakerBot MakerCare Protection Plan.
The Exciting Next Stage
At MakerBot, Jordan says, we’re leading the Next Industrial Revolution and, “this is next stage of that. This is how big companies, big universities, get involved in 3D printing in a really significant way.”
And it’s simply exciting. When you bring people into the same space, “they see what others are doing, they feed off that, and they start to develop more and more, and be more creative and effective. “
Do you think a MakerBot Innovation Center might benefit your school or organization? Please reach out to us
Tell Us What You Think
We’re always interested in your feedback, thoughts, and suggestions, so feel free to reach out to us at [email protected].
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