As a MakerBot reseller, we are very excited to let you know about their plans for the coming year. Rather than focusing on big changes like new releases in 2015, MakerBot is focused on fully providing a better user experience for the 5th Generation platform.
Our favorite thing about MakerBot’s trajectory is that they reinforced the idea that the company is dedicated to continuous improvement of the current 5th Generation printers. This is great news for our customers, who often express concern that they will end up with a printer that is obsolete within a year or two. Instead of releasing the 6th Generation this year and the 7th Generation next year, MakerBot is adopting a model of steady positive change to make the 5th Generation the best machine that it can be. MakerBot has already been demonstrating this dedication to a better printer through continued upgrades to the firmware. From personal experience on the MakerBot Replicator that we have in the office, we have noticed a vast improvement in printing quality following the most recent firmware upgrade.
MakerBot, as a subsidiary of Stratasys, it is the largest manufacturer of 3D printers in the world. This means that they have the resources to identify and fix problems while still innovating and working on what’s next.
New Printing Materials
Speaking of what’s next, MakerBot is rolling out some really cool ways that you can get even more use out of your 5th Generation printers. One of the first endeavors that they are undertaking is new materials. Citing their belief that the ability to print with more and more materials is going to be the biggest focus in new 3D printers, MakerBot is creating four new materials which will be available this year and can be printed with your existing MakerBot 5th Generation Printers. The new materials include limestone, bronze, maple wood, and iron.
Because the materials are still primarily PLA based, MakerBot refers to the materials as PLA+. While explaining the new materials, MakerBot mentioned that they are made of the actual product, even to the point that the maple filament actually smells like maple wood.The materials can also be finished by sanding, staining, polishing, and more.
With these four materials and other improvements on the horizon, MakerBot is upgrading the capabilities of the 5th Generation line. If you have been on the fence about whether or not to buy a MakerBot 5th Generation now or wait for the next generation, this commitment proves that there is no better time than the present, as you can take advantage of the current robust capabilities now and look forward to further improvements in the future. Contact us at Spectra3D Technologies today to learn more about our MakerBot 5th Generation printers, or see the power of MakerBot for yourself with a free sample part.
In order to take your 3D part from concept to tangible piece, the part must first be modeled in 3D software. Autodesk, the company behind software like AutoCAD, Maya, 3ds Max, Inventor, and Fusion 360, has been rapidly incorporating 3D modeling capabilities into their existing software. Between Autodesk’s well-established software programs and new software in development, Autodesk is charging head first into the 3D printing market.
Over the last year, Autodesk has released a variety of app-based software that is specifically designed for 3D printing. These apps include 123D Catch, a program that allows users to take a series of photos of a model that are transformed into a 3D design, 123D Design, a basic 3D modeling program, and 123D Make, a program that allows users to create 3D models in slices from individual layers. With these apps combined with Autodesk’s Spark, an additional software platform, Autodesk has been described as the “Android of 3D printing.”
Autodesk Talks About the Future
Recently, IDG Connect was able to sit down with Aubrey Cattell, the Senior Director of Business Development and Operations. Here are some of the most interesting tidbits about the interview.
Cattell reiterates that, although the printing industry is 25 years old, it hasn’t yet blown up. In fact, there have only been 250,000 3D printers sold over the last 25 years. Despite this, Cattell believes that we are on the cusp of huge growth, citing studies that predict that the industry will grow to $16 billion in 2018.
Cattell compares the current state of 3D printing to a “Homebrew Computer Club.” Essentially, at this point, only the really technical people are taking advantage of the technology. Cattell also believes that people expect 3D printing to be as simple as 2D printing. For widespread adoption, it is possible that technology will have to advance to the point that there is such a thing as one-click printing capabilities.
Cattell believes that Autodesk’s role is to identify and solve points of failure in the 3D printing process. Eventually, they hope to bring millions more individuals into the 3D printing marketplace. Part of this accessibility will also come from innovations like the Spark Investment Fund, a $100 million investment portfolio that Autodesk has made into advancing 3D printing technologies.
When Cattell is asked about the comparisons between Autodesk and Android, Cattell agrees with the comparison, stating that both are ways to enable others to innovate without making significant investments in the infrastructure. With Spark, 3D printing developers will be able to work inside of the proprietary software in order to develop their unique products.
With Autodesk’s new software apps and the Spark platform, Autodesk is striving to advance the adoption of 3D technology. If you want to learn more about how you can bring 3D printing technologies into your home or office, contact us at Spectra3D Technologies for additional information.
Autodesk hopes to bolster the future of 3D printing
In May of this year, Autodesk announced that they were ready to jump into the 3D printing game. In a blog post by Carl Bass, Autodesk President and CEO, Bass explained how his frustration with the state of the 3D printing industry had led him to seek out a better option. The result of this search was twofold: the development of an entirely new open source software platform, Autodesk Spark, and a 3D printer, the Ember, that would be designed to work with the Spark platform. Through these innovations, Autodesk hopes to help shape the future of 3D printing in a more user-friendly direction.
Development for Spark
In an update from Autodesk CTO Jeff Kowalski at the Inside 3D Printing Conference this week, Kowalski spilled a few more details about the software. One of the things that really separates Spark from the competition is its “autocomplete” feature, which allows the software to anticipate the design and complete the shape for the user. The Spark software program will also be able to work with multiple materials and can be used on any available hardware platform. Like the software, Ember, the 3D printer, will be designed through a heavily collaborative process. So far, it is known that the printer will have a resolution of 10 microns and will primarily use photo-cured resin for its material, although it will also print other materials. It is estimated that the printer will go on sale for somewhere around $5,000.
Raising the bar
This week, Autodesk took their role in the 3D marketplace a step further by announcing the creation of the Spark Investment Fund. Over the course of the next three years, Autodesk will be investing as much as $100 million into 3D printing companies. As the first of its kind, this investment fund is a great opportunity for spurring innovation in the industry by financing startups, researchers, and entrepreneurs. The primary goal of the Spark fund is to push the boundaries of 3D technology and move the industry into the next phase.
With increased innovation and investment in the 3D marketplace, it is a great time to embrace this amazing technology. If you would like to learn more about 3D printing and how it can be put to use in your industry, contact us at Spectra 3D Technologies.