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MakerBot 3D Printer is Best Thing Since Lego Mindstorms

Must-have product of CES 2011: At $1,200, MakerBot DIY rapid prototyping machine is great toy for rich kids, practical tool for poor manufacturers, and awesome lesson in robotics

Thing-O-Matic from MakerBot costs just $1,200 plus $10 - $15 per pound for plastic.
Julie Jacobson · January 12, 2011

If you asked CES 2011 attendees which one product they’d want to take home from the show floor, I bet half of them (75% of the geeks in attendance and 25% of the general population) would say the Thing-O-Matic from MakerBot Industries.

Thing-O-Matic is what we lay people call a 3D printer, and what manufacturers might call a rapid prototyping machine.

It is, in fact, both – a fun way to make 3D things, and an affordable way to create rough models of new products. And it’s mesmerizing to watch.

Simply draw your model using MakerBot’s open-source software and port your project to the Thing-O-Matic via USB. Then feed your choice of colored ABS plastic filaments into the machine, and watch the Thing-O-Matic platform move back and forth, slowly building a solid object with layers of melted plastic.

During the Consumer Electronics Show, a MakerBot representative said schools were buying the devices to teach kids about robotics.

Forget Lego Mindstorm, this is the next great thing for rich kids and poor manufacturers.

The easy-to-assemble Thing-O-Matic kit sells for $1,200 plus $10 to $15 per pound of plastic. Manufacturing a small object costs just pennies.

Join the MakerBot user community at Thingiverse.com

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  About the Author

Julie Jacobson is founding editor of CE Pro, the leading media brand for the home-technology channel. She has covered the smart-home industry since 1994, long before there was much of an Internet, let alone an Internet of things. Currently she studies, speaks, writes and rabble-rouses in the areas of home automation, security, networked A/V, wellness-related technology, biophilic design, and the business of home technology. Julie majored in Economics at the University of Michigan, spent a year abroad at Cambridge University, and earned an MBA from the University of Texas at Austin. She is a recipient of the annual CTA TechHome Leadership Award, and a CEDIA Fellows honoree. A washed-up Ultimate Frisbee player, Julie currently resides in San Antonio, Texas and sometimes St. Paul, Minn. Follow on Twitter: @juliejacobson Email Julie at julie.jacobson@emeraldexpo.com

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  Article Topics

Blogs · CES · MakerBot · Robotics · All Topics
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