MakerBot has made 3D printing accessible to a much wider audience. Learn about digital fabrication and the story behind MakerBot from its founder.
Bre Pettis builds infrastructure for creativity. Passionate about all things DIY, he is a co-founder of MakerBot Industries, the Brooklyn-based company that's bringing computer-controlled fabrication to the work benches of inventors, hobbyists, and mad scientists everywhere. The company's low-cost 3-D printers turn digital design files into physical objects, vastly reducing the cost and time required to prototype new products, manufacture custom parts, or realize art projects. MakerBot hosts the online community, Thingiverse, where users share designs and collaborate on open source hardware.
Pettis is also a founder of the hacker collective NYCResistor. He created the History Channel TV show History Hacker, produced and hosted Make magazine's Weekend Projects video series, created new media for Etsy.com, and taught art in the Seattle public schools.
Electronic device that accepts text files or images from a computer and transfers them to a medium such as paper or film. It can be connected directly to the computer or indirectly via a network. Printers are classified as impact printers (in which the print medium is physically struck) and non-impact printers. Most impact printers are dot-matrix printers, which have a number of pins on the print head that emerge to form a character. Non-impact printers fall into three main categories: laser printers use a laser beam to attract toner to an area of the paper; ink-jet printers spray a jet of liquid ink; and thermal printers transfer wax-based ink or use heated pins to directly imprint an image on specially treated paper. Important printer characteristics include resolution (in dots per inch), speed (in sheets of paper printed per minute), colour (full-colour or black-and-white), and cache memory (which affects the speed at which a file can be printed).