3D art for all: Ready to print

May 16, 2011 | Source: New York Times

Makerbot, a leading company in the field of 3D printing that has sold over 4,500 machines, has been putting the ability to manufacture custom plastic “prints” in the hands of anyone with $1,300 to buy one of their machines. The technology, called “3D printing” or “rapid prototyping,” has existed for years, but is only recently gaining a foothold among everyday tinkerers.

3rd Ward, an arts and design collective in Brooklyn, recently hosted Make-a-Thon, where curious participants experiment with Makerbot 3D printers for themselves. Visitors examined the work of Kyle McDonald, Makerbot’s artist-in-residence, who is an expert in digital scanning.

“We’re obsessively open-source,” said Bre Pettis, who worked as a middle-school art teacher in Seattle before co-founding Makerbot. Makerbot’s offices include a “botfarm” of 18 machines that can operate almost continuously and can be used by outside creatives for worthwhile projects.