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MakerBot Innovation Centers | A Year Later at SUNY New Paltz

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It’s hard to believe that it’s been one year since SUNY New Paltz opened the first MakerBot Innovation Center. But for staff and students at the university, time has flown by in the wake of 3D printing’s big splash on campus and on February 25, MakerBot CEO Jenny Lawton will head to New Paltz to celebrate the anniversary and give a talk on the current state and future of the 3D printing industry.

Bringing the Community to the Classroom
Besides giving students access to 30 cutting-edge 3D printers for bringing their innovative designs to life, the school’s MakerBot Innovation Center has also had a huge impact on the community. For example, students enrolled in the Digital Design and Fabrication class get to work with local entrepreneurs on 3D modeling and Real-Time Prototyping projects. So far, the collaboration has provided digital design and fabrication expertise to about 50 businesses and entrepreneurs throughout the Hudson Valley.


The school also launched workshops that have attracted a wide variety of K-12 teachers, from art to chemistry, looking for ways to bring digital design and fabrication technologies in their classrooms.

Catching the Eye of Employers
The outpouring of innovation from the student body is also attracting the attention employers searching for talented job candidates with 3D design and printing experience.

“We’ve seen huge interest from companies looking for talent with additive manufacturing experience, and the number of inquiries we get from local business and industry grow daily,” said Dan Freedman, dean of the School of Science and Engineering.

Governor Cuomo Takes Notice
The positive economic ripple effect in the community has also not gone unnoticed by state officials. In the fall, the school was awarded the $10 million NYSUNY 2020 Challenge Grant from Governor Andrew Cuomo to help further establish the school as an engineering innovation hub.

“The MakerBot Innovation Center has been hugely successful here at SUNY New Paltz and the interest from both students and industry has exceeded even our wildest expectations,” said Freedman. “MakerBot put us on the map as an innovation leader and we’re now positively impacting the Hudson Valley economy in so many ways,” added Freedman.

Interested in learning more about what a customized MakerBot Innovation Center could do for your university or organization? Visit MakerBot.com/innovation-center

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MakerBot Desktop | A Quick Calibration for Better Prints

Advanced Calibration: Z-Axis Offset from MakerBot on Vimeo.

Are your prints peeling off the build plate? Filament under extruding? If you’re using a raft but are still having issues with print quality, you may want to manually adjust your MakerBot Replicator Smart Extruder’s Z-Axis Offset. We’ve covered this quick tip before, and this short video also walks you through the process. We’re constantly iterating and that means regular software and firmware updates. Make sure you’re working with the latest software and firmware and update yours today.

Step-by-step instructions on manually adjusting your Smart Extruder’s Z-Axis Offset are also on the MakerBot Support pages. You can find tips for your MakerBot Replicator Mini, MakerBot Replicator, and MakerBot Replicator Z18. This quick trick could lead you on your way to better, more reliable 3D printing.

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MakerBot PrintShop 1.4 | 3D Print with Your iPad over 3G/4G

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Last week, we introduced an exciting new feature into the MakerBot 3D Ecosystem: the ability to start a 3D print remotely using your smartphone. MakerBot PrintShop 1.4 now makes this feature available to all iPads connected to a cellular network, along with a brand new way to browse the MakerBot Digital Store and make in-app purchases of digital models.

Download MakerBot PrintShop 1.4 from the App Store

Got an iPad with a 3G or 4G Connection? Print Away!
Like MakerBot Mobile 2.0, MakerBot PrintShop 1.4 utilizes the all-new MakerBot Cloud Services, which allow you to start, monitor, and cancel prints, as well as unload filament remotely from your 3G- or 4G-connected iPad. Now, you can customize all the medals, vases, rings and type you want, and start 3D printing them right away no matter where you are.

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Browse, Purchase, and Print from the MakerBot Digital Store
In MakerBot PrintShop 1.4, we’ve also crafted an elegant in-app browsing experience for exploring the MakerBot Digital Store. Browse all of our models and collections, and purchase your favorites. Using in-app purchases, you can simultaneously charge your iTunes account while downloading your new model to your MakerBot Cloud Library.

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MakerBot Mobile | 3D Print on the Go with Mobile 2.0

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When we released MakerBot Mobile last June, we told you that future releases would give you the ability to remotely monitor your MakerBot Replicator 3D Printer on the go. We added that in our last release, but now we’ve gone one step further.

Introducing MakerBot Mobile 2.0, which includes the ability to send feedback on your MakerBot Mobile experience from inside the app, and the ability to start a 3D print from just about anywhere on a 3G- or 4G-connected wireless device.

Download MakerBot Mobile 2.0 for iOS from the App Store now

Control Your MakerBot 3D Printer Anywhere You Go
MakerBot Mobile 2.0 is the first app to take full advantage of MakerBot Cloud Services. This new technology makes it possible to start a print using your MakerBot Replicator 3D Printer via your mobile device, as well as the ability to monitor your print via your onboard camera, cancel a print, or unload filament.

Send Us Feedback Instantly
At MakerBot, we’re always listening intently to your feedback and ideas. That’s why we made it easy for you to give us feedback right in the MakerBot Mobile app. Just select Settings to send us direct feedback, or rate us on the App Store.

Important Setup Information
To unlock all these features, you must follow a quick, one-time setup process. Visit our online support page for the details.

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MakerBot Software | Desktop 3.5 and Firmware 1.6 Are Here

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The next versions of MakerBot Desktop and MakerBot Firmware have arrived. Be sure to install them right away so you can take advantage of the latest improvements and capabilities.

DOWNLOAD MAKERBOT DESKTOP 3.5 NOW

Say Goodbye to Manual Updates
As promised, we’ve now included an auto-update feature in this version of MakerBot Desktop. So after you download MakerBot Desktop 3.5, you can unlock the latest and greatest features and fixes to MakerBot Desktop without having to check for updates.

For the time being, you’ll still need to update your MakerBot Firmware manually. To do so, simply navigate to Devices in MakerBot Desktop, and select Upgrade Firmware.

PLEASE NOTE: For best results when printing files via the USB port, your printer’s internal storage, or your Library, reprepare (reslice) them through MakerBot Desktop. Files that are not reprepared (resliced) won’t give you the best results.

Laying the Groundwork for On-The-Go Printing
The ability to print, monitor, and control your MakerBot Replicator 3D Printer via MakerBot Mobile from any 3G or 4G connected wireless device is coming soon. The new versions of MakerBot Desktop and MakerBot Firmware include the necessary updates to make this feature possible. Download them now to be ready.

Two More Features
MakerBot Desktop 3.5 also comes equipped with an updated Device Preferences panel, and the ability to adjust the temperature on your MakerBot Replicator Smart Extruder in Print Settings.

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Partnerships | Join MakerBot at SOLIDWORKS World 2015

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The Superbowl isn’t the only big-ticket event to come to Phoenix, AZ this month. MakerBot will be joining our friends at Dassault Systèmes for SOLIDWORKS World 2015, a gathering of over 5,000 CAD designers and other users of the popular SOLIDWORKS 3D modeling software.

Attendees can check out exciting speakers and training workshops, including a keynote speech from former MakerBot CEO Bre Pettis.

Let SOLIDWORKS and MakerBot Help You Travel in Style
We’ll be co-hosting the “3D Print Zone” in the Product Showcase in the main exhibition hall, which will give visitors the opportunity to customize a 3D printable luggage tag in SOLIDWORKS 2015, and 3D print it directly to one of six MakerBot Replicator Desktop 3D Printers on site. Come by and witness the latest advancements in creating a seamless 3D printing workflow between SOLIDWORKS and the MakerBot 3D Ecosystem.

Get A Free Pass to the Exhibition Hall
MakerBot and SOLIDWORKS fans in the Phoenix area can register for a free exhibit hall pass to attend conference (a $250 value) using the promo code SWW15EX11.

See you there!

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MakerBot Innovation Centers | Xavier Facility Makes Its Debut

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From Florida Polytechnic University to SUNY New Paltz, a growing number of colleges and universities across the country are building MakerBot Innovation Centers to prepare their students for the jobs of the future. Today, a new MakerBot Innovation Center opens its doors at Xavier University, the first midwestern school and the first private college to make this powerful 3D printing resource available to students.

Fully Stocked with the Latest from MakerBot
The new MakerBot facility boasts over 30 of our latest generation of MakerBot Replicator 3D Printers, as well as the MakerBot Innovation Center Management Platform — proprietary and innovative 3D printing software platform that enables remote printing and links all of the printers together to streamline productivity.

A Space for Creative Collaboration
In addition to giving students from different academic disciplines access to cutting-edge manufacturing technology, Xavier’s MakerBot Innovation Center will also serve as a space for students to get hands-on experience working with local entrepreneurs, researchers, and organizations from the greater Cincinnati area. The new facility features dedicated spaces for startups and networking to facilitate these kinds of community and university interactions.

Pioneering a 3D Printing Curriculum
But this is just this beginning. The new MakerBot Innovation Center is part of a larger innovation initiative at Xavier, including the creation of a full bachelor’s degree in Human-Centered Making, a program that teaches students how to use design and 3D printing to solve human problems. MakerBot Consulting has been working closely with Xavier faculty and staff to make this college-level 3D printing curriculum a reality ­— a move that MakerBot CEO Jenny Lawton is particularly excited about.

“This is an important step that will help introduce more students, community members, and entrepreneurs to the idea of 3D printing and how this technology can help them visualize and memorize complex theoretical concepts, gain hands-on experience and unleash their creativity,” said Lawton.

We’re eager to see the kind of interdisciplinary collaboration that emerges as students and community member flock to this exciting new facility.

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MakerBot Stories | A New Frontier in Tracheal Repair

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Your trachea, or windpipe, connects the throat and lungs. Air comes in through the windpipe; carbon dioxide goes out.

If it is torn or diseased, surgeons have two ways to fix it. They can remove the damaged part and attach the healthy ends, but there’s only so much slack. Or they can extract some rib cartilage and graft it into the windpipe, which is also made of cartilage. Additional surgery has risks, however. So some patients can’t be helped.

But what if doctors could grow you a new piece of windpipe, just the size and shape you need, from your own cartilage cells?

For the past year, the Feinstein Institute for Medical Research, in Manhasset, NY, has been exploring this question in collaboration with MakerBot.

The team of surgeons and scientists at the Feinstein Institute, the research branch of the North Shore-LIJ Health System, has grown cartilage on a scaffolding made from ordinary MakerBot PLA Filament. Their remarkable results, early investigations that might lead to a clinical breakthrough, are being presented today at the annual meeting of the Society of Thoracic Surgeons, in San Diego, CA.

Tissue Engineering + 3D Printing = New Possibilities

The Feinstein Institute’s findings build on innovations in two emerging fields: 3D printing and tissue engineering. Tissue engineering is like other kinds of engineering, except, instead of using steel or computer code to make things, living cells — skin, muscle, cartilage — are the raw material.

Researchers already know how to make cartilage from a mixture of cells called chondrocytes, nutrients to feed them, and collagen, which holds it all together. Shaping that cartilage into a nose or a windpipe is more challenging.

That’s where 3D printing comes in. The hope is to use a 3D printer to construct a scaffolding and cover it in a mixture of chondrocytes and collagen, which grows into cartilage. There are 3D printers that can extrude living cells, but options are few and expensive; one bioprinter cost $180,000 —beyond the Feinstein Institute’s budget.

So, at the end of 2013, Todd Goldstein, an investigator at the Feinstein Institute, called MakerBot. After several conversations, MakerBot agreed to provide the Feinstein Institute with two MakerBot Replicator 3D Printers, MakerBot PLA Filament, and expert advice in 3D modeling, 3D printing, and materials.

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Real-Time Prototyping with Surgeons

Creating a replacement windpipe is uncharted medical territory. It has to be rigid enough to withstand coughs and sneezes, yet flexible enough to allow the neck to move freely.

To develop the scaffolding, Goldstein teamed up with two North Shore-LIJ surgeons who specialize in repairing windpipes. Goldstein would make prototypes of the scaffolding, then bring the prototypes to the surgeons to examine them. Goldstein would adjust his designs based on their feedback, and return in a day or two with an improved design.

Working this way, the Feinstein Institute team was able to develop a strong, flexible scaffolding design in less than a month. Goldstein, who had never used a 3D printer before his call to MakerBot, tested about 100 versions of the scaffolding. When he hit a design snag, he consulted with a designer at MakerBot, who analyzed the 3D files and suggested ways to optimize them for 3D printing.

“The ability to prototype, examine, touch, feel, and then redesign within minutes, within hours, allows for the creation of this type of technology,” says Dr. Lee Smith, a pediatric otolaryngologist at North Shore-LIJ who worked with Goldstein. “If we had to send out these designs to a commercial printer far away and get the designs back one and three and seven weeks later, we’d never be where we are today.”

“Without the 3D printers to do this, the amount of capital we would need would be exponential,” says Goldstein.

Experimenting with the MakerBot Replicator 2X

The next challenge the Feinstein Institute team faced was how to grow the cells on the scaffolding. To test the idea, Goldstein used a handheld syringe to apply the mixture of chondrocytes and collagen to the scaffolding. It was, he said, “like putting icing on a cake.”

After further consultation, MakerBot provided the Feinstein Institute with a MakerBot Replicator 2X Experimental 3D Printer, which has two extruders. Goldstein converted it into a low-cost bioprinter by replacing one extruder with a syringe that dispenses the chondrocyte-collagen “bio-ink.”

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To mount the syringe on the MakerBot Replicator 2X, Goldstein modified a universal paste extruder that he found on Thingiverse. The paste extruder, which Thingiverse user nicksears remixed from other extruder parts, is in fact designed to put icing on a cake.

Goldstein modified the other extruder to print in PLA filament instead of ABS. “The advantage of PLA is that it’s used in all kinds of surgical implant devices,” says Dr. Smith, the pediatric surgeon. Goldstein found that the heat from the extruder head sterilizes the PLA as it prints, so he was able to use ordinary MakerBot PLA Filament.

The bio-ink, which stays at room temperature, fills the gaps in the PLA scaffolding, and then cures into a gel on the heated build plate of the MakerBot Replicator 2X. A two-inch-long section of windpipe (imagine a hollowed-out Tootsie Roll) takes less than two hours to print.

Once the bio-ink adheres to the scaffolding, it goes into a bioreactor, which will keep the cells warm and growing evenly. A new bioreactor costs between $50,000 and $150,000, so Goldstein found a broken incubator. With the help of an undergraduate intern, he is converting it into a bioreactor, with gears fabricated on a MakerBot Replicator 2 Desktop 3D Printer.

Proof of Concept

At the conference, Goldstein and Dr. David Zeltsman, the chief of thoracic surgery at Long Island Jewish Medical Center, are presenting the Feinstein Institute’s results from its investigations into how 3D printed windpipe segments held up for four weeks in an incubator. According to their abstract, “The cells survived the printing process, were able to continue dividing, and produce the extracellular matrix expected of tracheal chondrocytes.” In other words, they were growing like windpipe cartilage.

The Feinstein Institute is describing this work as a “proof of concept,” and the team still has plenty of work to do before establishing a new protocol for repairing or replacing damaged windpipes. Medical research can take years to move from bench to bedside, as can Food and Drug Administration approval.

Dr. Smith, the pediatric surgeon, says that he expects in the next five years to harvest a patient’s cells, grow them on a scaffolding, and repair a windpipe. At least one tracheal patient comes through the North Shore-LIJ Health System each year who can’t be helped by the two established methods. In such cases, the FDA has a compassionate therapy exception that allows you to try a promising experimental method like a 3D printed windpipe.

New Careers and The Future of Medicine

The windpipe experiment has already made a profound impact on the research team.

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“It’s completely changed the trajectory of my academic career,” says Goldstein, who came to the Feinstein Institute as a molecular biologist, working with cells, chemicals, and drugs. Combining this knowledge with 3D printing and getting into tissue engineering — “I didn’t expect that at all when I got here.”

Now he is the Feinstein Institute’s lead researcher for 3D bioprinting, making models for pre-operative planning and tools to improve the lab. He is also the presenting author of a paper being delivered to thousands of surgeons, and is applying for major grants to continue his research. “Knowing that I could potentially have designed something that will end up saving someone’s child is the most exciting thing I could ever ask for,” Goldstein says.

“This project will probably define my scientific career,” says Dr. Smith. “As we produce something that can replace a segment of trachea, we’ll constantly be modifying and optimizing, the correct bio materials, the correct way to bond the cells to the scaffold.”

“3D printing and tissue engineering have the potential to replace lots of different parts of the human body,” he says. “The potential for creating replacement parts is almost limitless.”

So what’s next? MakerBot has supplied the Feinstein Institute with early samples of forthcoming MakerBot PLA Composite Filaments in Limestone and Iron, so the team can start investigating other applications of 3D printing and tissue engineering.

“Do you remember The Six Million Dollar Man?,” asks Daniel Grande, director of orthopedic research at the Feinstein Institute and Goldstein’s mentor. “The Bionic Man is not the future, it’s the present. We have that ability to do that now. It’s really exciting.”

MakerBot Stories | Feinstein Institute for Medical Research from MakerBot on Vimeo.

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MakerBot Mobile | The Android App Has Arrived

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When we rolled out MakerBot Mobile for iOS earlier this year, we promised to deliver a version for Android OS, the mobile operating system running on 80% of the world’s smartphones.

Today, we’re following through with MakerBot Mobile for Android. This simple yet powerful app puts your MakerBot Cloud Library and the power to monitor and control your MakerBot Replicator 3D Printer in the palm of your hand.

Download MakerBot Mobile 1.0 for Android now from the Google Play Store.

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Control Your Printer with a Tap of Your Finger
If you’re on the same Wi-Fi network as your MakerBot Replicator 3D Printer, you can use MakerBot Mobile for Android to print any 3D model you’ve saved to your Library using MakerBot Desktop. All with a just a tap of your finger. You can also use MakerBot Mobile for Android to monitor and control your MakerBot Replicator 3D Printer, including canceling or pausing prints, and changing filament.

Upgrade to Thingiverse 1.3 for Android
For all of you MakerBot Thingiverse fans, we’re also happy to announce a new version of the Thingiverse app for Android. Use it in tandem with MakerBot Mobile for Android to print 3D models directly from Thingiverse. Just select the Print Now button in Thingiverse 1.3, which will automatically open MakerBot Mobile for Android and prepare your model for 3D printing.

We’re Just Getting Started
This is just the beginning for MakerBot Mobile for Android. In the near future, we’ll be introducing features for exploring Thingiverse, and the ability to start a print on the go using any 3G or 4G connection. In the meantime, use the Thingiverse app for Android to get a jump-start on your 3D model collection, and keep your eye out for these updates.

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Thingiverse | Swap Ideas and Models with Thingiverse Groups

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One of the most vibrant parts of the MakerBot 3D Ecosystem is Thingiverse, the 3D design community for discovering, printing, or sharing over 500,000 free 3D models.

Today, we’re unveiling a new way to explore this community of innovators.

Our new Thingiverse Groups feature allows you to join and create groups around specific topics or types of designs, start conversations, and share Things with your fellow community members. We’ve made it super easy to create groups, search for the newest or most popular groups, and upload your designs.

Check out Groups under the Explore section of Thingiverse.

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There are already a few groups to choose from, but a good place to start is the My First Make group, where you can share your first 3D printing experience. Can’t find a group that fits your interests? Start one of your own. In a community as vast as Thingiverse, chances are there are others out there who share your passions. Find your people!

As always, we’ll be iterating and improving this new feature based on your feedback. Head over to Groups Feedback and let your voice be heard.

 

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