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Printer Businesses Hardware Hacking Open Source

MakerBot Launches New 'MakerBot Labs' Platform ( 42

"MakerBot just announced a new Open Source initiative called 'MakerBot Labs'," writes Slashdot reader szczys. "It is a small move, centering around some new APIs and a new extruder which is listed as experimental and not covered by their normal warranty. Largely they missed the mark on making a meaningful move toward openness, but with a new CEO at the helm as of January this could be the first change of the rudder in a larger effort to turn the ship around."

Makerbot's history is "an example of how you absolutely should not operate an open source company," argues Hackaday, saying it's left them skeptical of Makerbot's latest move: It reads like a company making a last ditch effort to win back the users they were so sure they didn't need just a few years ago... The wheels of progress turn slowly in any large organization, and perhaps doubly so in one that has gone through so much turmoil in a relatively short amount of time. It could be that it's taken Goshen these last nine months to start crafting a plan to get MakerBot back into the community's good graces.
From MakerBot's press release: "After setting high industry standards for what makes a quality and reliable 3D printing experience, we're introducing this new, more open platform as a direct response to our advanced users calling for greater freedom with materials and software."
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MakerBot Launches New 'MakerBot Labs' Platform

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  • 3D Printers and then VR and then AI. Hyped technologies which completely failed in real life.
    • Cars and then computers. Hyped technologies which completely failed in real life.

      You must be living in a bubble if you aren't aware of them actually being used. I'm on a few different facebook groups for specific 3D printers and it's amazing what 'average' people are doing with them.

      In terms of adoption it's on par with computers in the mid 80s or the internet in the mid 90s or I anticipate VR will be in the 2020s. It's just a tool like a hammer or bronze.

      Companies have already moved past PLA and ABS for prototypes into stainless steel for production parts.

    • Hyped technologies which completely failed in real life.

      They didn't fail in the slightest. Just because every idiot didn't need one doesn't mean they aren't incredibly actively used for everything from actual production, to prototyping, down to hobbyist fun. Just because you don't have one doesn't mean you can't use one right now with the ability to simply upload a file online and have a part delivered to your door a few days later.

      That's if you live in the desert, otherwise I'm sure you could simply drive to a local shop which would offer this service for you a

  • The wheels of progress turn slowly in any large organization

    Is makerbot really a large organization? They laid off 1/3 of their 500 employees in February.

    • That's okay, they've been 3D-printing new employees since january.

    • Given how they have a corporate overlord, just because they have 500 employees doesn't mean they don't deal with the shit of a large organisation.

      Admittedly though even their parent only has 3000 employees, but with $700m in revenue they aren't exactly small either.

  • Dear MakerBot (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward

    You 3D printed your own coffin, fucked over the community and turned into a bunch of money grabbing cunts producing overpriced, unreliable crap.
    Now want us to help you claw your way back out of it?
    No fucking chance.

    • by samkass ( 174571 )

      Any company which depends on anything called something like "the community" is in trouble. Members of "the community" never want to pay much, want to share everything for free, and are generally interested in small-scale hobbies or personal projects. That is awesome for a $1M/year company, but at some point SOME company in any industry has to move beyond "the community" to "the public" or "the industry". MakerBot tried to thread that needle and failed, in part because 3D printers aren't useful enough yet to

  • I for one.. (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 28, 2017 @02:35PM (#55450465)

    I bought into the Makerbot way back in the beginning. Good reviews, open source, highly adaptable, all the things I thought would be good things for the long haul.

    Then they went closed-source, redesigned the product to make it 3 times the price and less than half the quality.

    In the case of the material, that went to 6 times the price, but I haven't a clue about the quality since I wasn't willing to pay it. The replacement parts were damn expensive (They charged me $95 for a 3 foot 4-lead 24 gauge wire) and suffered fatal redesign flaws that made them very prone to failure.

    I learned a lot about what to look for when I replaced the printer with a completely different one. But MakerBot burned through all the trust I might have had for them, and I definitely recommended to all my friends to stay away from them!

  • If you want a really good printer, there's the Prusa i3 mk3, tons of amazing features for under $1K. I've also heard good things about LulzBot's printers.

  • I'm happy that I was able to get their last open sourced printer, and I'm still pissed that my printer was the last open sourced one they sold.
  • Eat shit MakerBot.

  • by mark_reh ( 2015546 ) on Saturday October 28, 2017 @06:49PM (#55451077) Journal

    I wanted one about 6 years ago. Well, actually, 20 years ago, but it was a financial impossibility until 5 or 6 years ago. I was reading about them in engineering journals for many years and never saw one up close until I joined the Milwaukee Makerspace. One of the members had a Makerbot CupCake.

    I wanted a machine that was capable of printing a full sized human skull extracted from CT scan data. I looked at that miserable little CupCake, pushed on it and poked at it a little, and instantly knew I could make something much better. So I did. It took about a year and a half to get it printing, but it produced extremely high quality prints over its 305 x 317 mm bed. I used what I learned from that one and built my second printer over about a 6 month period- fully enclosed, warm enough to print ABS reliably, etc. I measure, test, and redesign until I get the machine to do what I want. I build printers like the proverbial brick s**t house using surplus industrial components and absolutely minimal 3D printed parts. I set the bed level once and don't have to touch it again.

    6 years and three designs/builds later I have a CoreXY machine that can print 300 x 300 x 695 mm. I still haven't printed that skull, but I print a lot of other things. Here's one example: [] I have about 50 designs posted to Youmagine and Thingiverse, and countless others that I have never posted.

    They aren't for everyone, and some people never get past printing tugboats and Yoda heads, but some of us do interesting and even useful stuff.

    • by LesFerg ( 452838 )

      Good on ya. Still using my first purchased i3-clone with 200x200x200 builds.

      I really enjoy taking an idea or rough sketch into CAD and producing a solid lump of plastic from it. Some things have been useful bits around the house, some time and prototyping for my first experiments in Arduino based robotics, plus a lot of decorations, un-needed keyring decorations and failed prints.

      I don't know why people above complained about the wasted expenses on filament, it's pretty damned cheap these days if you orde

Those who can't write, write manuals.