Thursday, 6 June 2013

Rumor of MakerBot up for sale / acquisition

There are rumors of MakerBot being up to sale or acquisition. Huh? They only got started!

Very difficult to know what to make of this story at this stage:

MakerBot Industries grew out of the RepRap community ... open source hardware and software for plastic (ABS, PLA) Fused Deposition Modelling (FDM).  This is the simplest form of 3D printing .... in essence squirting a suitable thermoplastic out of a tiny nozzle to build up an object in thin layers.
Founders and 'RepRap' prototypes

MakerBot have commercialised the FDM process in a range of low cost 3D printers for the  'Maker' community. They also sell to some corporates who use the low cost of the printers (roughly the same as a high end laptop) to experiment with the approach. NASA has apparently bought a few tens of these printers.

Due to its roots in open source, and the easy replication of the commodity technology, a hundred (literally) other start ups have brought 'similar' devices to market. (See the list left of this page).  Most of these FDM start ups are one or two man band companies. MakerBot is considerably larger and has been the most successful in commercializing the technology. However, there are valid competitors. Two examples are Ultimaker and the Cube series of FDM printers from additive manufacturing giant 3D Systems.

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