Makerbot unveiled its Replicator Mini and Z18, its respectively smallest and largest 3D printers to date. Both are consumer-facing and ready for market. Having firmly established itself as a the brand-to-know in the rapidly expanding 3D printing arena, it has sold over 44,000 universe, and over 48 million digital designs have been downloaded on its Thingiverse. The new devices aim to expand both of those figures. The Replicator Mini is a small, cheap device that Makerbot CEO Bre Pettis calls the “point-and-shoot” model for the Makerbot family, designed for one-touch, plug-and-play functionality with an app store – in other words, an easy to use, cheap, consumer facing baseline at $1,375. On the opposite end of the spectrum is the Z18, the biggest unit to date that’s capable of producing 12″ x 12″ x 18″ printouts (Makerbot showcased a full-sized stormtrooper helmet at CES). It will be available in the spring of 2014, for $6,499. Both devices are a sure sign that 3D printing is here at least for the forseeable future, and that Makerbot is pushing as hard as it can to make 3D printing a conventional consumer product.
The “greatest show (and tell) on Earth” returns to NYC for a 4th consecutive year. The event spans two days and is hosted at the NY Hall of Science in Queens, NY. Five different zones cover the grounds located at the northwest corner of Flushing Meadows Park. Empowered by the maker movement each zone contains everything from performances to hands-on skill learning such as soldering a circuit or building a robot. Hackers, tinkerers and thinkers come together to share and learn. Sure you have your really deep-dive nerdy DIY electronic kit section but you also have drone flying, an entire 3D printing village and a giant life-size Rube Goldberg mouse trap. You might not think watching a giant mouse trap sequence would be fun but when you add a band (they had one last year) and all the DIY craftiness of old car parts, bathtubs, etc. it’s super fun. (Think OK Go’s “This Too Shall Pass” video).
More the lecture type? All the DIY craft a bit too much and you’d rather hear some people tell you about making things? There’s something for you too. The speaker lineup for Saturday and Sunday includes the founder and CEO of littlebits (absolutely fabulous snap together electronics learning kits for kids of all ages); the CTO of NASA (you’ve heard of them); founder of Arduino and Raspberry PI (DIY electronics kits that rock), Bre Pettis (do I need to tell you who he is? CEO of MakerBot), and many other tech and making evangelists.
“Part science fair, part county fair, and part something entirely new, Maker Faire is an all-ages gathering of tech enthusiasts, crafters, educators, tinkerers, hobbyists, engineers, science clubs, authors, artists, students, and commercial exhibitors. All of these “makers” come to Maker Faire to show what they have made and to share what they have learned.” says Maker Media
Maker Faire is brought to you by Maker Media. Maker Media publishes MAKE magazine, produces Maker Faire, and offers DIY electronics, tools, kits, and books through its online and pop-up Maker Shed stores.
Disney is the presenting sponsor with a collection of other levels of sponsors including Microsoft, Ford and Chobani.
There is also an app for iOS and Android.
— Alexander Rea (@AlexanderRea) September 18, 2013
MakerBot got things started in Austin, delivering a keynote from CEO Bre Pettis. With 3D printing on the rise, it’s not surprising MakerBot was the one to kick things off at this year’s SXSW festival. During the keynote, Pettis reiterated the dramatic changes in terms of access as printer prices have dropped from $100,000 to around $2,000. Also interesting is the release of MakerBot Digitizer, the latest printer that can complete high quality scans in a matter of minutes. The user won’t need any experience with the software to use the scanner, and MakerBot hopes to see it in schools, businesses, and the home alike. All of these developments bring 3D printing into the consumer space, allowing people print just about anything from spare car parts to Happy Meal toys
Stay tuned throughout the 14th for live coverage from SXSW including original interviews from some of the most compelling tech and media companies from this year’s festival.