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3D printing living up to its hype? Rise & fall of MakerBot

Imagine instead of going to the store, simply downloading what you need from the Internet and printing it out on a 3D printer. Well, that future is here… Sort of.

“The time from a thought to a thing is short. You can just manifest something,” explains MakerBot Industries co-founder Bre Pettis of a world for those with one of the stuff printers he helped create. “That’s really a change in the way you think when you get a MakerBot. You think oh could I make that instead of buying it. I call it MakerBot goggles, you look at something and you think, could I MakerBot that?”

There is much to be MakerBotted: practical stuff (a cup, a cooling fan), replacement stuff (a camera lens cover, a shower curtain hook), novel stuff (a tube squeezer, a clip-on reading LED), and the completely random (a miniature of your own head).

There are CNC (computer numerical controlled) machines that work with metal, wood or electronics, but the MakerBot Cupcake CNC prints out plastic, and unlike some of the others, it has a very accessible price tag ($750 for a build-it-yourself kit or less if you choose to build it using the open-source design files).

The MakerBot also has a place for you to “shop”; on Thingiverse, there are 4000 things to be downloaded and printed, or customized to fit your need.

In this video, we stop in at the Brooklyn (NY) warehouse of MakerBot Industries where Bre Pettis shows us a future where we all can be manufacturers.