This article was originally published on Mashable.
We're in the midst of another Industrial Revolution, and it's all thanks to 3D printing. While there are several startups working to expedite adoption of the innovative technology, MakerBot is the household name looking to get 3D printers in the hands of the masses.
"It's a new way of designing and creating and manufacturing," says MakerBot Founder Bre Pettis, who started his career as a teacher. In the classroom, Pettis strived to empower his students through creativity, so education and learning are "built into the DNA of MakerBot"—it's a useful tool for designers and hobbyists, engineers and kids. (MakerBot Academy is the company's White House-supported initiative to get a 3D printer in every school in America to inspire a new generation of designers and makers.)
“I've always been a tinkerer," says Pettis, "And it's the holy grail for tinkerers to be able to make something that makes things."
The MakerBot Replicator 2 uses "additive manufacturing" to 3D print objects, one 100-micron layer at a time. MakerBot machines use PLA filament, a plastic-like filament that won't peel, crack or curl, and comes in 23 colors and a handful of finishes, including translucent and metallic, for added versatility.
There are 13,000 MakerBot Replicator 2 machines in the wild today, and they sell for $1,999 online. The machines can be used to make prototypes, high-res models, medical tools (like umbilical cord clamps in Haiti) and your everyday desktop tchotchkes. You can find CAD designs for many things, from Dremel drill attachments and Christmas ornaments to license plate frames and prosthetic hands in MakerBot's Thingiverse.com.
3D printing, says Pettis, "helps you see the world in a different way."
Watch the video above to learn how MakerBot has spreading the gospel of 3D printing since 2009 and how the company is growing, both online and in brick-and-mortar shops.
Photo: Courtesy of MakerBot