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
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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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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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