Updated 20 May, 2013, 8:22 pm IST
MakerBot builds objects from 3D designs
| by Anuradha Shetty |
Meet MakerBot Replicator. Quite like its name suggests, it makes things for you. MakerBot Industries is working at making robots that can make stuff for you. All the robot needs is being shown a 3D design of the object on a computer. Speaking at the Rockefeller Foundation’s Innovation Forum recently, MakerBot's CEO, Bre Pretis stated, “At MakerBot, we make machines that make things. So, you can have an idea and you can either design it on your computer or download somebody else’s design from Thingiverse.com, and then you can make it.” Explaining how the MakerBot works, Pretis said that one begins with making a 3D design on the computer, which is then transferred to the robotic machine. The machine then builds it up 'layer by layer' till the object is ready.
As on the website, the MakerBot Replicator is written about as, "The MakerBot Replicator is the ultimate personal 3D printer, with dual extrusion (2-color printing)--and a bigger printing footprint, giving you the superpower to print things BIG! Assembled in Brooklyn by skilled technicians, the MakerBot Replicator™ is ready within minutes to start printing right out of the box."
Interestingly, using MakerBot is so easy that 7-year-olds are using it to make their own toys. Pretis, who has a background in education, explained that using Tinkercad, a 3D design program, one can easily make designs for MakerBot. What is also impressive is that the company has gone as far as testing the MakerBot together with the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. Here, MakerBot captured photos of the different statues. It was then tested to see if it could create small replicas of the aspect of the statue that it was shown, by way of computer-based dimensions. Needless to say, it did.
At the moment, MakerBot can make objects of the size of a loaf of bread, or even smaller. The material used by MakerBot to make objects is either ABS (acrylonitrile butadiene styrene), the plastic that Lego bricks are made up of, or PLA (polylactic acid), a biodegradeable plastic substitute made from corn. Speaking at length about the benefits of MakerBot, Pretis added, “At its core, MakerBot is an innovation machine. And because the material is so cheap and the machine is so cheap, it means that you can have access to manufacturing that couldn’t have had before. You have materials to create your ideas.” He believes that with MakerBot, the company is making people capable of building their own things.
View the video to get to know MakerBots better, and/or read more about it here.
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