Ask Hackaday (And Adafruit): The New CEO Of MakerBot

Just a few years ago, MakerBot was the darling of the Open Hardware community. Somehow, in the middle of a garage in Brooklyn, a trio of engineers and entrepreneurs became a modern-day Prometheus, capturing a burgeoning technology into a compact, easy to use, and intoxicating product. A media darling was created, a disruptive technology was popularized, and an episode of the Colbert Report was taped.

The phrase ‘meteoric rise’ doesn’t make sense, and since then the reputation of MakerBot has fallen through the floor, crashed through the basement, and is now lodged in one of the higher circles of hell. It’s not surprising; MakerBot took creations from their 3D object hosting site, Thingiverse, and patented them. The once-Open Source line of 3D printers was locked up behind a closed license. The new MakerBot extruder – the Smart Extruder – is so failure prone MakerBot offers a three pack, just so you’ll always have a replacement on hand. False comparisons to Apple abound; Apple contributes to Open Source projects. The only other way for a company to lose the support of the community built around it so quickly would be a name change to Puppy Kickers, LLC.

In the last few months, figurehead CEO of MakerBot [Bre Pettis] was released from contractual obligations, and MakerBot’s parent company, Stratasys, has filled the executive ranks with more traditional business types. It appears PR and Marketing managers have noticed the bile slung at their doorstep, and now MakerBot is reaching out to the community. Their new CEO, [Jonathan Jaglom] specifically requested a hot seat be built at Adafruit for an open discussion and listening meeting. Yes, this means Makerbot is trying to get back on track, winning the hearts and minds of potential customers, and addressing issues Internet forums repeat ad nauseam.

If you’ve ever wanted to ask a CEO how they plan to stop screwing things up, this is your chance. Adafruit is looking for some direction for their interview/listening meeting, and they’re asking the community for the most pressing issues facing the 3D printing community, the Open Source community, and MakerBot the company.

Already on the docket are questions about MakerBot and Open Source, MakerBot’s desire to put DRM in filament, the horrors of the Smart Extruder and the 5th generation MakerBots, problems with Thingiverse, and the general shitty way MakerBot treats its resellers.

This isn’t all Adafruit wants to ask; the gloves are off, nothing is off the table, and they’re looking for questions from the community. What would you like to ask the MakerBot CEO?

Personally, the best interview questions are when the interviewee’s own words are turned around on them. By [Jonathan Jaglom]’s own admission, the barrier to entry for 3D design work has been substantially lowered in the last three years, ostensibly because of incredible advances in Open Source projects. Following this, do MakerBot and Stratasys owe a debt to Open Source projects, and should Stratasys contribute to the rising tide of Open Source development?

That’s just one question. There will, of course, be many more. Leave them down in the comments. “You are not [Tim Cook],” while a valid statement in many respects, is not a question.

174 thoughts on “Ask Hackaday (And Adafruit): The New CEO Of MakerBot

    1. I have same sentiment. Too late. You betrayed your followers, and sell a bad product. Their are far superior 3D Printers on the market at better price points that remain open source.

      As for Ada Fruit, she is a good business person, puts out good products, documentation and tutorials. But she is not the friendly Engineer she would have you believe she is. I saw her at Maker Faire 2012 and she was completely stand offish, not approachable at all (Also, she allowed Wired magazine to photo shop her image). Phillip Torrone is also pretty bad. He constantly bashes “Chinese” products for being of inferior quality, and how no one should buy “Chinese”, yet they have no problem selling the stuff on their site. Where does he think all those electrical components, motors, and steppers, etc… come from?????

      I’ve worked for a Chinese Open Source Hardware company in Shanghai, and we had to deal with the same quality headaches, but we strived to provide the quality stuff, and provide superior customer service, which Chinese companies are guilty of, but its a cultural issue, that is slowly improving.

    2. So I have some inside knowledge of what happened with the fall of Makerbot. At the time stratasys took over makerbot they were also in the middle of a merger with Objet, the Israeli company that makes polyjet 3D printers. The makerbot guys got put on the back burner to deal with the merger after some boiler plate business model changes were enacted for makerbot. These were basically just a shift from Makerbots old business model to the one Stratasys used. This was a mistake, I think, on stratasys part because the community that had gathered around makerbot was there because of the open source style and the model they changed it too was definitely not. Hopefully the new CEO will take all of this to heart. I have one of the 1st gen makerbots, its what got me into the business I am in now so I owe a debt to them, I have high hopes everything will work out.

    1. You beat me at this. Crying for help when it’s too late means they didn’t care a floating turd about what the community wanted, despite being bombarded with mails. In other words, if they could still make a ton of money out of their products, the hell if they were listening to us.

    2. “If you’ve ever wanted to ask a CEO how they plan to stop screwing things up, this is your chance.”

      I read this and my knee-jerk thought reaction was “No, I want the CEO to ask ME(customers) how to stop screwing things up.”

      Then I remembered that is what the Rat Shack did at the end. But that doesn’t mean they actually implement the better parts of what they are told.

  1. They should take a long, hard look at how Limor Fried does business.

    She is a brilliant engineer and an honest business owner that supports open source and does not try
    to squeeze every last possible penny out of her customers.

    Then whenever a question of business ethics arises they should ask themselves.
    “What would Limor do..?” and then do that.

    Chip Gracey over at Parallax, is another honest businessman that they could take cues from.

    1. Man.. I love Chip. In 1998 – the BASIC Stamps were not affordable – but they were available. But his company is an unsung hero in this thing people call the maker movement.

      1. Oh yeah, and while I have moved on and never tried them, I really love that the founder of that company also was the core designer of their super unique Propeller chip.. And his name is Chip.

        Heck yes, Chip.

    2. Sorry, but but you forgot the rules of Jeopardy – your statements must be in the form of a question.

      “By asking Adafruit to host this, you have recognised the high regard the community has of Adafruit – and Limor Fried. Have you offered her a consulting position? Would you accept and act on her advice? Will you come back in six months, and tell us how acting on that advice panned out?”

    3. Chip yes, Limor NO. The last thing we need is blind profiteering off of the sweat of 14 yo tinkerers. Limor is a business person imho. She lost the warm n fuzzies a long time ago, trading in her soldering iron for a larger bank account. Parallax has always been above the board and doesn’t do stupid things for the most part.
      In all honesty though, the whole Make: movement seems to be about money (while flooding us with more Chinese garbage trinkets). Perhaps I am getting grumpy in my old age. Makerbot was shit and still is apparently.

      Benchoff, I had a good laugh at your Apple open source defense. Man, take a long hard look at who you are defending *cough patent trolls *cough. Hell, they charge people to run Linux ;)

      I would say to figure out who has done the worst things, is least qualified, and who has lost their company the most money since we reward bad behavior these days. That is who the CEO should be. Someone who can outsource jobs, plunder the 401k, and sell non-working devices overseas so that the shop proprietor has to foot the bill for defective merch, while making an insane profit off of child labor. That is who it should be. Also they should really steal or buy their company’s first OS in order to run with the Big Dogs.

      1. > Benchoff, I had a good laugh at your Apple open source defense. Man, take a long hard look at who you are defending *cough patent trolls *cough. Hell, they charge people to run Linux ;)

        Apple is paying the guy who develops CUPS. That’s the bar for contributing to open source, and Makerbot can’t even manage that.

      2. Who’s the troll here? Apple does not charge people to run Linux.. Darwin is based off of BSD, and BSD is not Linux. Darwin has always been open source, who gives a shit if they charge people to run it, the source code is still freely available, to this day.

        And accusing Limor Fried of being a tophat-wearing, cigar-smoking capitalist tycoon just makes you look like an idiot. She’s making genuine Arduinos and other PCB assemblies in New York city, USA. I don’t see her outsourcing to China or Vietnam or Cambodia. If she’s blindly profiteering as you say, don’t you think she’d move her shit east? Obviously there are some first principles besides profit and power going into to Adafruit.

        Go away troll. Shoo.

        1. Limor / Adafruit sold Makerbot crap while Makerbot had already turned on the Open Source / Hardware origins. They sell closed source Eda software (eagle) instead of promoting and supporting true libre solutions like KiCad. Hell, Adafruit sells oracle software.

          1. Kicad sucks, and Eagle is actually a good company in showing how they can support the maker community by providing free and low cost versions for non-profit use. I wish more companies were like Eagle, it’s a great business model, they make a good product, and they have a good community. They even switched all of their files (BRD, SCH, etc.) to use XML, which allows anyone with a little programming experience to create a converter or editor. Just because they’re a for-profit business doesn’t make them bad. Not everything can be open source and compete in the market.
            Where Makerbot got it wrong wasn’t just moving to closed source, it was by patenting ideas stolen from the community, attacking the open source community that raised it. Then they released really shitty products, with very little support and that would knowingly break with great costs to repair. They even have in their warranty that if you use non-makerbot filaments that the warranty will be void. It all adds up to stifling innovation, harming the maker and open source communities, and treating their customers like dirt.

    4. Limor Fried is most definitely NOT an honest business owner that suports open source.

      Limor / Adafruit sold Makerbot crap while Makerbot had already turned on the Open Source / Hardware origins. They sell closed source Eda software (eagle) instead of promoting and supporting true libre solutions like KiCad. Hell, Adafruit sells oracle software.

      1. Woah! Not supporting open source does NOT mean somebody isn’t an honest business owner! You really need to back up accusations like that.

        Adafruit is as successful as it is because their stuff is well-engineered and the examples *work*. The goal is to get people up and running, and Adafruit does that and does it well.

        1. You can’t be a company that espouses to follow and push open source ethos (which Adafruit does), then turn around and sell and support closed sourced products.

          1. Yesm, you absolutely can.

            You are setting yolurself up for only disappointment with this attitude.

            Aspects of what is called the ‘maker movement’ are truly and stunningly beautiful expressions of the best things about modern life. Things like taking naive children (and adults) and watching them grow into tools that will let them express themselves in fundamental ways they otherwise would not have been able to.

            Also, opening e3conomic opportunities up for future generations, or current workers is a admirable thing, and open source solutions can only be a stepping stone to better solutions in some cases.

            Lighten up! Take it from a grouchy cynic (me) – this stuff isnt that black and white.

          2. @jaredgrm (why can’t I reply to comments that are more than 3 deep…)

            > fritzing (open source alternative to eagle)

            Really? Fritzing is definitely not an alternative to Eagle unless you’re a complete beginner and just want to draw a schematic of something you built on a breadboard. It is a circuit design program, but it’s hard to even *compare* it to something like Eagle or KiCad

        2. Also, I was refuting the phrase “an honest business owner that supports open source” from the parent poster. You left out the “that supports open source” which is the relevant part of my point.

          1. That’s ridiculous. They’re honest. They support open source. Get over yourself.

            Adafruit is an honest business that delivers what it promises. Their design files are available on GitHub and they provide libraries and examples whether you’re a customer or not. They walk the open source walk better than anybody.

            Quit bashing them because they don’t pass your purity test, and drop this asinine “honest” stuff.

  2. Makerbot started with the most expensive filament on the market when it was in 1kg spools, then switched to “large” spools which were actually 10% smaller, but they decided the liked their old price so they kept it. How about not screwing buyers of your printers on supplies maybe not so much?

    1. When Bre Pettis was a guest on The Colbert Report in 2011, demonstrating how a 3D printer works, Colbert joked, “how will you make your money? Just like copiers, you’re going to get us on the toner, aren’t you?” Bre laughed and said “We’ll resist that temptation.” Everyone back at the office had a good genuine guffaw at the ridiculous idea of MakerBot adopting the evil toner business model.

      Four years and a bazillion dollars later… welp.

  3. Did anybody NOT see this coming?
    I love the awesomeness of 3D printers and how far the idea has progressed over the last few years. At the other emotional extreme, Makerbot has for me now encapsulated most every negative emotion a human can have. They kind of started at the top and then Bre pretty much single-handedly squandered everything they could have bee. And now I preach the gospel of staying away from anything Makerbot to anyone at any opportunity I can. Bre is a textbook narcissist.

    I have mixed feelings about Adafruit too to be honest. They do bring a lot of cool ideas to market, and they seem to ask a premium for it. I hear a lot about Ada and company nurturing the open source community, and I guess they probably do in one way or more. But I think that’s because Adafruit is probably just a good posterchild to be held up as an example for how open source can be quite profitable. But for a couple years now I just feel something inexplicable that makes me NOT feel warm and fuzzy about Adafruit. There’s nothing really wrong with them (very UNLIKE Makerbot), but I feel no desire to feel huggy about them nor to glorify them for things that they aren’t either. Ada has parlayed her skills and knowledge into a very successful company. Nothing wrong with that, and of course it’s quite admirable. I don’t feel any desire for them to go extinct like I do with Makerbot, in fact i wish them continued success. But it doesn’t inspire me to genuflect either.

    My advice to Ada would be simply to inform the new bean counters at Makerbot how open source was a good idea that lifted them to the top (she can offer details if she wants). And the proof is simply that while Adafruit continues to ride the open source wave into success, Bre shoved Makerslut toward antiquated business models (badly at that) then it quickly started writing its own footnote for history. The 3D printing community simply DOES NOT NEED Makerbot whatsoever. Good riddance. Something else will rise to the top, probably with technology not yet tapped that makes FDM obsolete anyway. I see no good reason why Ada would care whether Makerbot survives or not, other than it quite likely involves some significant sum of money (there’s that non-warm, non-fuzzy feeling again). The Radio Shack analogy does echo here, doesn’t it? My advice to her would be NOT to voluntarily attach her decent name to Makerbot’s bad reputation, which might end up being something difficult to un-glue in the future. Makerbot just needs to naturally go extinct. Maybe she could donate all her proceeds from consulting with Makerbot to charity and bump her own reputation a better direction. I feel it would be a better move to research the market and align herself with a printer company which has a reputation that is not in triage.

    Doctor? Stop compressions and call it.

    1. Your non-fuzzy feeling about Adafruit maybe be due to things like:

      Limor / Adafruit sold Makerbot crap while Makerbot had already turned on the Open Source / Hardware origins. They sell closed source Eda software (eagle) instead of promoting and supporting true libre solutions like KiCad. Hell, Adafruit sells oracle software.

      1. Lol. .You are off the deep end.

        Eagle is awesome for the price, and has always supported hobbyists with truly cheap licenses.

        Furthermore, even opensource projects and products often get designed with closed source tools.. Asking “makers” to be synonymous with rabidly ideological anti-profit rhetoric is asking a bit too much.

          1. Yes. You can.

            Why cant you?

            Some products are open source, others are not. Its a strange and beautiful world.

            These are small companies and they are free to use a variety of business models to make ends meet and deliver their products.

            Who are you, the open source police?

          2. “You can’t be a company that espouses to follow and push open source ethos, then turn around and sell and support closed sourced products.”

            Sure you can. Just don’t be a zealot. Problem solved.

            Now stop trolling kid. You bore people.

    2. To get an honest opinion on Adafruit we would have to know the list of subsidies provided by NYC for using a building in a depressed business zone, for woman owned business, for …. there are a lot of them. Not that there is anythign wrong with that. It is smart business. Sparkfun for example has managed to get paid for the electric power it DOESN’T use! Its power (non)use is subsidized by all the local home owners. Smart business. Smarmy feel to it though.

  4. I’d say that the popcorn was rolling in the day Makerbot went shutdown-source. They had only one bullet left, that was to impress us with great product at low/affordable price. Never happened. The market will for sure absorb if they can offer it some day.
    I’m working for a company in a research lab. They asked if we should buy close-source 3D printer. Guess my answer.

    I do really hope they will catch up. The direction is more important than speed, I hope this time they will calibrate the compass properly.

  5. Makerbot can totally get back on top. Make a big deal about righting the wrongs done to their original user base (nerds), then focus on their new user base (average consumers) with printers that are easier to use and work better than anything else in their price point.

    1. Im not sure they can..
      Stratasys seems deeply butthurt over the progress of time – and they really dont want to deal with consumers in any real way.

      Selling $250k machines with 40k//yr service contracts is(soon – was) far easier in many ways (i am sure).

    2. They could have started by hiring a CEO who came to the table with a plan to do this.

      Instead, they hired someone who’s best idea was this lame attempt at at PR stunt.

  6. I’ve never posted a truly vitriolic comment on HAD, but here goes:

    Bre Pettis is at the heart of this, and his connection with “MAKE” magazine in its Brooklyn-hipster, inept, inarticulate, geographically ignorant days (yes, Michigan and Minnesota are different states – moron), hawking really bad hacks and worse 3D printing make a good case study in how we can’t all be the tyrant/bullshit peddler that Steve Jobs was.

    The only good thing that has happened here has been missed – a good case study about how puffery and greed eventually collapses in the face of a technically adept community and the blowback from a really bad product, bad customer service and delusional management.

    1. Except…. Bre Pettis is a millionaire, the faults of the company have been hoisted off on a buyer, and the media does not care about the ‘truth’ in the story.

    2. ” (yes, Michigan and Minnesota are different states – moron)”

      Citation needed. What did Make or Bre Pettis do to combine the states? I’m curious, sounds like a funny story.

    3. And yet the irony is that now “MAKE” magazine has now completely sold out and become a mainstream version of itself… and a poor one at that. The early days of MAKE were the days of actual makers and creative doing things, taking risks, and generally surfing on the ragged edge. Now… blech. No soul, limited content, reliance on links out to their website for the actual steps for projects, etc… just a waste. And they still can’t deliver a danged issue on time.

      Maybe Bre is to blame for doing something back then for getting them where they are now or maybe not, but it’s a wonder that Stratasys hasn’t just bought them and turned them into a fanzine for Makerbot… (they’re not that yet, thank goodness, but based on what happened to Makerbot it’s not a stretch to imagine that happening to MAKE).

      Heck, you want to see where MAKE will end up? Look at what Wired turned into… now it’s a vaguely-sciencey impression of Esquire or Vanity Fair… perfume ads and all. That’s MAKE in less than a decade.

      As soon as something gets commercialized and turned into a line on a corporate budget so that it can “enhance shareholder value” or some such BS, it’s done. It might go quickly, it might die a slow agonizing death, but one way or the other… just put a fork in it. MAKE, Makerbot, you name it… they’re essentially the same thing down deep.

      They were good while they lasted, they’re dead to me now.

  7. trying to be level headed and biz like…so try read this with a calm tone of voice to Jonathan Jaglom:

    why should we listen to you?
    what value does makerbot bring to the market? and what market is that?
    what makes makerbot the best technical, value, and quality choice?
    will reliability and quality of the product be a priority? when will the fixes / upgrades start shipping?
    how will the damage done by Makerbot to the 3D printing community be repaired?

  8. I could be totally wrong here, but if I understand, Stratasys holds patents that are being infringed upon by essentially all the FDM machines that dont license these patents.

    Stratasys purchased Makerbot to stop it in it’s tracks.

    Is this wrong?

    1. http://roboticstomorrow.com/news/2015/06/15/stratasys-successfully-defends-validity-of-fdm-patents/6242/

      Might point towards what I am saying.

      I have used Stratasys equipment for years – it is very good, very expensive, and requires maintenance to operate for any length of time. BUT…..

      I also believe FDM was likely developed at multiple universities over time, leading up to Stratasys winning the patent race.

      So much research is now offloaded from corporations onto universities, then back into corporations.

      1. “So much research is now offloaded from corporations onto universities, then back into corporations.”

        Which IMO is a shame, unless universities get a very large cut of the profits to finance further research.

        1. To me the issue is the students.

          The students are paying a lot of $ to become what amounts to unsung interns.

          Maybe in european countries it makes more sense to have a larger interplay – but in USA engineering and science educations cost a lot of money.

    2. This is is wrong / incorrect.

      The managers at Stratasys wanted to release a cheap consumer printer to compete with 3D Systems, another IP holder in the 3D printing market. They realized that their engineering dept. got extremely carried away with over-engineering their $170000 FDM machines, and couldn’t be counted on to release a cheap consumer printer. So rather than hiring fresh engineers, they bought the darling Makerbot company which (at the time) was making decent printers.

      Source: This was mentioned by a Stratasys employee to a friend of mine that visited their facility.

        1. Oh yeah.. The cubify thing. Ick.

          Both these companies are kidding themselves if they think “real customers” such as schools and small design businesses will be happy with the hobby quality of these FDM machines.

          1. These companies arent kidding themselves at all…Real CUSTOMERS buy $60-100k printers….every few years. http://imgur.com/YXOQ9WJ
            Stratasys and 3dsys are both more than capable of making plastic pooping gluegun bots….and despite others \ridiculous idea that they somehow couldnt simplify enough on their own….DONT BE STUPID…They buy these HOBBY PRINTER COMPANIES for their reputations and positions in the hobbyist market…NOT because the hobbyist market is where they thin they are going to make BANK…..but because someday hobbyists grow up and need real tools.

    3. If that were true then Stratasys would have no need to purchase Makerbot, they could have either sued them out of existence or made them another revenue source through licensing.

      My understanding is that Makerbot, etc… all were offshoots of the RepRap project. I believe I remember reading something by Dr. Adrian Bowyer where he stated that he started the project exactly when he did because that’s when the necessary patents EXPIRED.

      You can’t infringe on an expired patent! That’s supposed to be the whole point of the patent system!

      Some things such as heated enclosures were patented later and therefore haven’t expired yet. Unfortunately our ‘friends’ at Makerbot patented the automated build platform just recently so it’s a good long time before we get to have those.

  9. Is Stratasys willing to drop the lawsuits against the open source community?
    Are they willing to reattribute the patents filed on Thingiverse posts back to the open source community?
    Are they willing to add protections to Thingiverse to prevent a future patent grab?
    How do they view the future relationship between Stratasys and the open source community? What will they do to make their view of what that relationship should be become a reality?

  10. “…has fallen through the floor, crashed through the basement, and is now lodged in one of the higher circles of hell..”, really by what measure? From what I have read hackers shouldn’t risk breaking their arms by patting themselves on the back for any role they may have had in the demise of Makerbot if it ever occurs 3D printers and items they are used to make are luxury items , not life’s necessities their sales are going to have mixed sales for a long time to come, the world economy is still recovering from the Banksters attack on it. While the reported 20% of employees loosing there jobs isn’t unheard of inside a company absorbed by another, the T. Boone Pickens and Mitt Romney sort of capitalism, not that makes the reality any easier to deal with, regardless of the spin Stratasys/Makerbot attempts. Stratasys in trying to recover it’s investment in Maker bot isn’t going to try to please the angry difficult to please builder/hacker/ maker group, but will market who want to use a 3D printer to make items to seel, who may not care about the open source issue if they can jet a good machine at a decent price. For-that group, it’s their livelihood that’s of concern, not open source. The open source many commenters hat Hackaday would trough under the bus if the could find a penny.

    1. Um… No.

      The ‘builder/hacker/maker’ group is the ONLY reason to own the Makerbot name.

      There are only two possible markets for 3d printers, expensive high end prototyping machines purchasable by governments, big corps and universities and hospitals. Then thare is hobbyist device market.

      ” but will market who want to use a 3D printer to make items to seel, “[sic] (you meant sell right?)

      First of all, that’s just stupid. Now you are talking about manufacturing and 3d printing will NEVER make any sense for use there. The process of drawing out a 3d object line by line can not possibly be optimized to the point of being competitive with simply squirting molten plastic into a mold. It’s slower and lower quality. I don’t care how young you think 3d printing is (it’s about as old as the home PC btw). Thinking 3d printing will improve enough to be useful in manufacturing is like thinking that the bicycle will be improved until it replaces the car in long distance transportation.

      But.. if in some Twilight Zone universe’s version of reality 3d printing ever does become a major manufacturing method the manufacturers are going to want high-end professional machines. Stratasys has had the big brand name in that market since the RepRap was just a gleam in Adrian Bowyer’s eye. Using the Makerbot name for that just makes no sense whatsoever! That would be like Craftsman rebranding all of it’s tools to K-Mart.

      Stratasys already has the major brand name for selling in the high end market. It’s the ‘real hackers’ as you put it market that Stratasys needs some help with brand recognition.

      There is no other 3d printing market. We all hope that some day there will be a common-user market.. but that doesn’t even exist yet so neither brand name is going to carry them there. If you are selling 3d printers you are either selling extremely expensive machines in Stratasys’s existing market or you are selling to hobbyists. That all there is!

      1. “Thinking 3d printing will improve enough to be useful in manufacturing is like thinking that the bicycle will be improved until it replaces the car in long distance transportation.”

        Ever heard of “motorcycles”?

        They aren’t a major part of manufacturing itself, but certainly prototypes and proofs of concept.

        And, you forgot the massive, discerning market of business executives who want “one o’ them printery things”

  11. Nerds where certainly key in getting bench top 3D printers a going, but there’s no way Makerbot is going to satisfy a significant number of them. They could be better off rappelling to that user base you call new. They aren’t so new I see and have been seeing more 3D items being market inside that new base than I do 3D items marketed among hackers. Not every hacker has access to 3D printer, so there is a market within the hacker community

  12. Which customer does Makerbot want?

    Many of us here are already familiar with the rivals to Makerbot and their increasingly superior products. (Deezmaker, obviously! All hail Metal!) The quality of what else is available is superior — faster, easier to maintain, cheaper. Then scale has changed already, even though it has farther down to go.

    Makerbot took a good brand and ruined it, but did so too early for there to be a bounce-back. You don’t steal your customer’s ideas then expect them — us — to give more ideas about solving those problems. We left. We don’t negotiate with terrorists, and we don’t go back to abusers.

    Makerbot seems to want a customer that isn’t a geek. That’s fine for them if they are willing to wait about five to ten years, when the market for 3-D printing has grown to the general public. Right now it’s us makers that use 3-D printers, and we are pre-programmed to hate DRM and shoddy parts. It’s in our nature to take things apart, not to accept them as they are or as things on the way to nothingness under a future subdevelopment.

    Makerbot has to ask itself where it sees the revenue stream that it wants to cultivate.

    If they want to sell filament and tie their machines to their filament, then the machines need to be far cheaper. We still have to fix them, after all. Again, I’m not interested in that kind of lock-in — I already know whose filament I trust (Toybuilder Labs — more Pasadena love).

    If they want to sell printers to a less DIY crowd, then they need to build exceedingly reliable and durable machines. They’ll need extruders that don’t jam at all, spoolers and feedline that have flow control and feedback, integration with home networking with the touch of a button.

    Right now, no matter how good a 3-D printer may be, it’s still not solid-state. They’re hand-cranked automobiles from 1905, not modern cars. It’s what a lot of us like about them — they’re frontier tech. Don’t expect us frontier folk to join your HOA. We came with cattle, and cattle prods, and branding irons.

    1. Makerbot simply does not give a damn about makers and nerds.

      Reason for that is simple. The market. Most of the 3D printer sales in their segment are to companies. So they pretty much don’t give a rats ass about what HaD says. And none of the main-stream big tech blogs has said anything bad about the Gen5.

      So in contrast to the HaD safety bubble view, MakerBot isn’t doing that bad, as their main customer group does not know how bad the 5th gen really is compared to the other options.

      On the flip side. Here at Ultimaker, we’re still keen on staying Open Source. And have no plans with DRM filament.

      1. Of course those companies (particularly the start-ups) are staffed by people who are makers and read HaD, which is why amtel, microchip, freescale, shapways, ohs parks et al are keen to be seen here. A good company will listen to their engineers. Just my perspective on how I hope things work.

        PS. Maybe you could give some Ultimakers to HaD to give to HaD prize entries.

    2. Agreed except even if they could sell to the non-geek crowd today… why do so as Makerbot? Stratasys already does sell to a non-geek crowd, albeit in a much higher price bracket. If the average user market existed today I would think that an economy line under the Stratasys brand would be at least as good if not better marketing than trying to sell the common users on a formerly geek brand. What, if not selling to makers would Stratasys ever want Makerbot for?

  13. I know I am likely to be slammed here but one thing I think will likely launch 3D printing into nearly every home and many businesses is some form of model DRM. Hear me out:

    I work in the aviation industry and can see a huge business model in having a library of replacement parts or even just emergency parts that an airline customer could simply purchase a license to and download and print on demand. Hours of delay in the airline business can cost millions of dollars. There are many other businesses that would also benefit from this business model. And by putting that security in the models, you don’t need to restrict the equipment from the user designing and printing their own objects as well.

    This would translate into the home, too, of course. Businesses can sell designs and the home user can print them at home on-demand. And again, it would not require restricting the hardware itself from being used however the user sees fit.

    Once there is a well established business model, the value of a 3D printer will go up and enormous effort will be put into refining the designs, increasing speed and reliability and even bringing the cost down even more. It avoids the inkjet printer model of requiring overpriced materials and parts because the real money maker is an honest business of content that any talented person could jump into.

    I support capitalism and I am fully aware that is evil here. But people need to make money. No matter how much you love your hobby, if you aren’t making money, you need to find a way to make money which takes you away from doing what you do best. We need to find honest and fair ways for people to make money with this technology.

      1. They already do fly 3D printed parts – the difference is they’re from a reputable, registered manufacturer with approved QC, testing, etc… and THAT is what I can’t see the FAA or CAA changing, ever. Never mind the real or imagined safety/quality issues, image you’re Mr FAA answering questions the 1st time something known to even contain an “amateur” 3D printed part crashes, or even nearly crashes.

      2. Sorry, already happening. My son works in a rapid prototyping shop, and part of their mainstay business is 3D printed parts out of material specifically authorized by the FAA

      3. As I mentioned, I work in the aviation industry and am very aware of FAA and other regulatory bodies. Many advances have already been made in this industry using 3D printing technology and there is a great deal of buzz in the industry to do just what I mentioned above. It’s not really a matter of ‘can’t’, it’s a matter of ‘how.’ This will happen.

        But, I didn’t want to get detracted with the example. It was only one example. The overall point is that I think what it will take to truly make this technology boom is to create ways to make profit with it. Right now, it is a hobby for most. Businesses are very interested in it, but the only profit made there is lowered budgets.

        When content can be sold and licensed, and especially by Joe Blow, the market will explode, more improvements will be demanded, companies will become much more competitive in innovations, etc…

        Right now, it is still very much hobbyist driven.

        1. Ugh, please no. Keep ‘selling and licening’ far far away from 3d printing. It’s a great thing that it’s so open and that sharing is encouraged right now. So many great designs that anyone can improve upon and modify freely. Don’t ruin it with ‘profit’ motive.

          1. How old are you?

            What level of safety do you expect from the commercial transportation industry?

            Do you understand how much responsibility engineers take on when working on large scale transportation and infrastructure projects?

            Do you know how unfair it is to use untested unknown materials in critical systems?

            You are the type of person who rips people off on kickstarter.. I can just tell.

          2. Both worlds can co-exist perfectly fine. The point is that a company is not going to invest much into the tech if they can’t protect and control their content. Making replacement parts for your product available to print on-demand has almost no value if the customer can just print a million copies.

            And like it or not, innovation is fueled by money. Things like advances in 3D printing metal is VERY heavily driven by the aviation and auto industries. They have teams of engineers and scientists working on this. And that research benefits everyone. But that research is not going to get done, they are not going to pay those engineers to do it, without a plan to make a profit from it. Just the facts of the world. Big companies have big money. That gets things done.

            The fact of the matter is that hobby-driven technology can only get so far. People need to make money in order to pursue what they do best. If they aren’t making money there, then they need to make money elsewhere and their time investment is spent away from what they do best.

            Profit is not inherently evil. People are not going to stop sharing designs. When it has value, people will pay. If people are not willing to pay for it, then it won’t sell. I’m sure most content creators will have a mixture of both. And the fact that they can make money on some of it means they can spend more time creating the free stuff.

            A free market works if you don’t fuck with it.

  14. I would ask them how they intend to bring the prices down of their equipment as it is no longer affordable? What is their strategy to assist in getting 3D printing technology into the hands of more people in an effort to help grow the knowledge that was used originally to assist in creation of their hardware and software? and lastly I would ask if they would consider beta/lending programs to makerspace/hackerspaces around the world?

    Humbly,
    Roo
    Founder @ Proto Makerspace

    1. It isnt even jsut that it isnt affordable – IT ISNT THAT GOOD!

      All these consumer level FDM machines are lacking in quality.. Straight up.

      And so are makerbot.

      Stratasys likely bought makerbot solely to shut them down. This is obvious.

      1. Define “lacking in quality” – lacking when compared to a $20k FDM printer? A $500k UV Inkjet? That’s like saying Ford is lacking in quality compared to Aston Martin.

        Stratasys bought Makerbot to get Thingiverse and the consumer customer base – they just didn’t realize how crappy the 5th gen products really were.

        Let’s have the conversation again when HP decides to enter the consumer 3D printer market.

  15. This posted by Andrzej Raczynski on MakerBot’s own blog, and partially copied here. Seems the Smart Extruder needs a redesign anyway, MakerBot would do well to implement suggestions like this while they’re at it:

    “Here’s my issue with the smart extruder: Just got this unit a few weeks ago, managed to finally get it to print a sample. Today I told it to unload filament, it did its thing while i was doing something else. Came back a minute later, couldn’t pull the filament out of the tube the rest of the way. When i took the extruder apart, i noticed the filament developed one of those tiny little ‘clubs’ at the end. Anywho, my issue is that in order to take the extruder apart, i had to take the shell off, which someone in their amateur mind seemed to think was ok to design fragile little plastic tabs to secure the two halves together. Half the tabs broke off during removal, and another one broke off during reassembly (yes, i was careful because I saw this coming a mile away looking at how fragile those tabs/clasps are).

    So with half of the clasps/tabs broken off, it still managed to stay together somehow. However, I know the next time this happens, it won’t stay together any more… I might be reduced to zip ties or something…

    All that price/engineering and they’re too cheap to use 4 bolts to hold it together”

    Any extruder, no matter how well made, can clog. Simple problems like these that can be corrected by the end-user, should be correctable easily; rather than the extruder being a disposable piece of junk that breaks if you try to open it…

    Of course, I’m sure MakerBot knows all about anything Adafruit could possibly bring up, and this meeting is merely a PR stunt intended as an attempt to placate folks temporarily; rather than a genuine attempt to solicit feedback.

    1. For some strange reason, I think you may be right. Failing businesses seem to have a habit of doing things like this, and then continuing on their downward slide. I’m sure you can find many examples of this…….

    1. They can..

      They just cannot really do what a “real 3d printer” can do: make accurate prototypes of 3d designs, including surface finishes, etc.

      Strange, isnt it?

    2. I know 3D printers can print a few things of use right now, but it’s an incredibly narrow niche of things that are mostly just a bit harder to make some other way or out of some other material – 99% of the time they could be whittled from wood, plastic or metal with a mill / lathe / by hand if a 3D printer wasn’t around.

      What I mean is in a way that makes it a “Killer App” that people are as likely to be able to justify having a 3D printer in their house as a microwave oven or a power drill: Can I print a usable spanner to undo that hard-to-reach bolt, a new part for my boiler (other than the plastic control knob), a matching replacement for a no-longer-available door handle or light fitting, a water pump for my car… could Ikea sell me a file to print out something from their catalogue and it be as good as the item sat on their shelf in the store?

      I am not trying to be down on the whole 3D printing thing, I think it has the potential to be awesome and change the world and the geek in me wants one so badly, but right now the hype of “3D print yourself a replacement kidney at home!” does not tally with the reality of squirting out something that is at best a moderately robust space-model of the thing you originally thought of.

      Someone posted a link to some page the other day like “100 useful things you can print” and the first one was a fucking PLASTIC adjustable spanner. That’s my point in one single item.

      1. I don’t think there can be a one “killer app” of 3d printing.

        The problem is that if there was any one thing that people want then that item could be mass produced far more efficiently and with far better quality than it can ever be 3d printed.

        The whole benefit of 3d printing is it’s flexibility but that is pretty much the opposite of a “killer app”. Let’s take your adjustable spanner example. That sounds pretty dumb to me too, why would I want an adjustable wrench which will probably fail in a use or two. it might as well not even be adjustable since it will probably be destroyed after using it once, set at one size. It would probably be easier just to print a wrench of that size. But.. why bother, metal ones aren’t hard to come by anyway and will likely work better.

        But… what if I was working on my car.. there was some funny bolt or nut at some funny angle, very hard to reach. What if I searched online for advice in removing it and found some helpful person had posted not just the usual anecdotes but an STL for a funny angled non-adjustable wrench that made the job easy? So what if being plastic it barely survives that first use. Hopefully it will be a long time before I do that repair again and I can always print another.

        Examples similar to this and probably millions of things I have never though of.. that’s where I think home 3d printing has real potential. But.. for the average user to get into it… There will need to be a very large library of pre-made designs online. The process from search all the way through print will have to be streamlined to be not much harder than buying a song or movie on a cellphone. Clearly we aren’t there yet but maybe some day….

  16. What does it feel like to have made yourself obsolete already in a market that hasn’t even started to reach maturity?

    How can any self respecting maker ever trust you again?

    I’m doing this… just for the lulz!

    1. Stratasys is looking at all this through a rearview mirror, is my guess. I think that was the plan all along.

      They have to pretend to care though, or their real reputation (big machines) might get harmed.

  17. I wouldn’t touch Makerbot with a 10 foot pole.

    Helping out Makerbot, who is widely hated in Adafruits customer base… I wonder what Limor Fried has to gain from doing this? Or Ben Heck still prominently displaying his Makerbot, despite having an excellent delta printer?

    Money?

  18. Maybe makers are not the target market for Makerbot, and they just want to reduce the giant influx of bad publicity from the maker scene (which is hurting their reputation and their ability to sell to companies or universities).

    So by actually participating in this discussion, we are helping Makerbot.

  19. Serious Question:

    How soon are you planning to 360 on your current business plan and go back to the the strategy of stealing people’s designs and ideas? Is there a certain timeframe or dollar amount that your corporate overlords require before going back to business as usual?

    Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice… we won’t get fooled again.

  20. Here’s a long statement, followed by a question.

    When Makerbots were cool a few years ago, I really wanted one. I couldn’t afford to buy or build, as an lowly intern. As a fully fledged engineer, my coworkers and I managed to convince our company to buy one for prototyping. I told them that the newest Makerbot would be awesome. Roughly three thousand dollars of our very small engineering budget later, we had one. We’ve been through eight extruders at this point (protection plan…) for a battalion of different reasons. We’ve barely been able to use it, and it’s currently been down for multiple months. I’ve given up on it, and now I look like a huge [asshole] because I pushed to get one. You get credit for standing by the protection plan and replacing my extruders for shipping cost. That’s it. There’s no way your QA team printed hundreds of items with a high success rate. It’s just not possible.

    When are you going to release the design files for the Makerbot 5th Generation machines? I’d hate to waste my time fixing someone else’s problem, but I know lots of people in the community who would appreciate an actual SMART Extruder, and not the half-assed crap that you put out.

    1. I’m pretty sure the answer is never.

      Have you considered rebuilding it… not to spec?

      We have a couple of ‘Cupcakes’ at the hackerspace. They haven’t really been Cupcakes since before I ever even experienced them. First the electronics were replaced with better RepRap electronics. Then the extruders. Recently one had it’s X Y & Z carriages all replaced with totally different open source designs for the second time. I think the only things that are still original are the power supplies and the outer frames.

      Replacing the parts with ones identical to the ones that failed never made any sense. They failed for a reason!

      Worst case scenario, look at your Makerbot as a pile of motors, heated bed and threaded or smooth rod. It’s most of the expensive pieces of a better RepRap.

        1. Oh, I don’t know. Even if you only keep the motors that isn’t exactly as minor part of the printer as the nail in nail soup. But… even if he does end up building an entirely new printer in the end… if he can use a ‘nail soup’ like strategy to make his coworkers see it as just adding a little to the old Makerbot then he gets to save face.

  21. I’d just like to add that I think Sparkfun is also doing the capitalism/open-source mashup correctly.

    There’s a documentary on Netflix about 3D printing that pretty well explains the Bre Pettis crash and burn story.

    1. Nate at SparkFun is a badass, and a gentleman.

      Got lucky enough to be in a booth next to him for a weekend trade show.. Great to talk to and be around – really warm and inviting fellow..

      And quite successful.

  22. Adafruit was in the next room when Makerbot started as a business, so it’s not unfitting for them to be there at the end.

    I was involved with 3D printers before Makerbot started and have been involved in the community for the whole time.
    Makerbot got started as a company in a Berlin basement in late December, when they received a pre-order from kd85 that would get them started as a business.

    I’ve been writing a book on Reprap and Makerbot, about how open-source projects fail. I just need to interview someone who was inside Makerbot in the early days to finish it, but those people don’t want to talk about it.

  23. We, as a group called “Makers” shouldn’t be buying 3D printers anyway – isn’t the point to make our own?

    I like Limor and I like Sparkfun mostly because they provide schematics and source code for almost everything they sell, which puts me much farther down the road than having to figure it all out myself – well worth the cost of the devices. When they stop doing this (I note that Adafruit at least is providing fewer and fewer schematics these days) I’ll stop buying from them.

    I don’t have any questions for the guy, we as a community have turned our backs on him because he no longer represents the ethos of the community. I invite everyone to join me in the loud message of this silence.

    1. I don’t think it’s necessary for a maker to build their printer. Do you build all of the tools that you use to make things? Where do you draw the line? Are you digging ore to forge into hammers and screwdrivers? We each have some particular kind of thing that we like to make. It’s ok to buy the tool that you use to make with.

      That being said.. I am building my own printer. From what I have seen using hackerspace printers or from knowing people who have their own these aren’t consumer ready devices yet anyway. They break! I agree that it IS better to build, but it’s better because a home-built printer is a home-rebuildable printer. If you made the part once, you can make it’s replacement. Also.. with better designs constantly coming out.. there is near limitless opportunity for upgrades. Shiny new toys all the time…..!

      I would be afraid that if I bought a printer I would quickly find I wanted to do some kind of modification or upgrade but couldn’t. Or something would break and the replacement would be unavailable or expensive.

      But I wouldn’t feel like less of a maker just because I bought a tool!

  24. makerbot+make+adafruit. I figured i’d see this here after the announcement. Don’t really understand why its even happening, there are loads of 3D printers that don’t have the same murky past, why bother with them at all. something about a proverb being the nature of the beast.wonder if it’ll end up back on their shelves. we’re sorry we did the opposite of everything the community stands for, and now our profits are in trouble, so lets do some press fluff pieces. tiny american flags for some.

    never really understood why people want to put so much power into corporations, and then fanboi for them. open hardware rules seem more about protecting the corps profiting from them, than the spirit of “share and enjoy” of the source code stuff.

  25. It is definitely irksome that they build the company on a KickStarter to make affordable machines. Which was the cupcake. Then they become mainstream and the most affordable machine they offer is like 1200 bucks.

    1. Dude, you have a source for the cupcake kickstarter? Because it didn’t happen. Bre, Adam, and Zach got a few investors (including Adrian Boyer… Yeah, the reprap guy), started making kits, Make threw a bunch of press at them, and here we are today.

        1. And which part would you like to contest? The cupcake launched in early april, 2009, kickstarter launched April 28, 2009. right here it says Adrian Boyer is an investor. The funds from those initial investors was used to create the first 20 cupcakes. I hardly think, ‘MAKE throwing a bunch of press at them’ can be contested.

          Every premise of my above comment can be supported, and yet it’s wrong. Okay. Cool. Good.

          Oh, Adrian got about $8Mil from the Stratasys sale, btw.

  26. I think the question should be what can we learn from the entire makerbot downfall? I think its fairly obvious that open source and capitalism can co-exist. Just take a look at some of the large open source software companies that exist. Unlike makerbot, whose competitors have to produce physical hardware, the competitors of these companies (whether they provide services, hosting, or support) don’t have to produce anything. Yet those software companies still exist. So where did Makerbot AND the community go wrong? I would like to point out three areas.

    1. Patents: You don’t patent an invention because you want to make it, you patent an invention “to exclude others from making…” If someone claims that they are patenting an invention for “defensive purposes” or so they “can make sure we can make it in the future.” they are either lying or unaware of how the patent system works. Publishing is the best way to make sure you (and everyone) can make your invention in the future. While yes, it is true that someone can take your work, or even a derivative of your work, and patent an improvement, they can only protect what they have “improved.” Patenting it doesn’t protect this either because they could always patent the “improvement” on your existing patent.

    2. Venture Capital(VC): While I am quite fond of VC, everyone needs to understand the implications of taking VC. Most VC firms promise an X return on your investment in Y years. As a results, they will take on 10 companies expecting a certain amount of those companies to fail and the rest, perhaps 2, to do really well. Most of their focus is on the monetary return on investment. Things that stand in the way of that goal, like giving things away for free, don’t last. If you sell more than 49% of your company, you had better be onboard with that. The owners of MakerBot had a choice to take VC or not, they may not have had much of a choice in their actions afterward. The community needs to understand that with few exceptions, when someone takes VC it is about making money.

    In my view, there is only one way for a open source hardware* company to succeed, and that is on quality. Large companies pay for Aras PLM because they know that when something breaks, someone will make it right. People buy from Adafruit, because they know that, although they could pay less on ebay, what they get from Adafruit will be more dependable, work the first time, or get fixed. There is value in quality. When makerbot couldn’t compete on quality, they needed another way to compete. And if makerbot wants to succeed in the future, they need to focus on quality.

    * I hate the term open source hardware.

      1. Rewarding communities and interfacing with markets has always been a problem with open source hardware. Since 2011, SENSORICA, a physical and virtual community focused on open source hardware has changed the way people work together. Devoted to developing its Open Value Network, a system that captures the value of each individual’s contribution fairly while managing resources, SENSORICA has crafted the protocols and governance rules for co-creation in a peer to peer, commons based production environment while providing solution for interfacing with traditional, classical structures (markets).
        We have always used MakerBot as an example in our presentations, as seen in this video presented at OuiShare last year: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9h7Z9LPQwmw

        We are now involved in a historic event, being the first community to receive a contract from a university to give life to and to socialize an Open Source Hardware project, and our invitation to the White House on June 11th 2015 assured us that we are pretty much alone in this space.

        If MakerBot wishes to repair and re-open a part of its R&D to online communities, SENSORICA can be a solution for this initiative.

          1. It is.. Has many echos of the ethereum digital currency ideas – but makes slightly more sense.

            One issue, having been in these situations: it can be near impossible to ‘fairly capture the value of one participants contribution’ Sadly it is part of why life isnt fair.. Its a FUD situation – in the lack of good info (qualitative measurement of contributions) – strong arming takes over!

          2. I would tell the CEO of Makerbot that there is nothing to fix. You don’t fix an organizational form who’s expiry date has come. You abandon the corporate model and adopt new models that are adapted to our current reality.

            As cryptocurrency is displacing fiat money commons-vased peer production, open value networks, are replacing corporations.

            Essentially, what SENSORICA is doing, is making the corporate model obsolete. The best way to understand how this happens is to look in areas where the open source mode of innovation drives the market, and that is 3D printing and consumers drones. SENSORICA builds on the open source mode of innovation and adds the missing layers around it in order to allow production and distribution, while preserving the core values and principles. RepRap was not organized as an OVN, and this is why Makerbot came into existence.

            Arduino, Adafruit, and the rest, are hybrid models, and their success opens the space for OVNs.
            http://multitudeproject.blogspot.ca/2013/04/open-source-hardware-meets-p2p-economy.html

    1. I used to think the same about Adafruit (that I’ll spend 5-10x more, but I’ll get a more dependable, thoughtfully built product), but I soured after I burned out a stepper motor controller that had no current limiting when every other motor controller I’ve used has some form of current limiting on it (experience only from 3D printing) and there was a description that was ambiguous to a novice that there was a current limit.

      When I contacted support to ask them to at least put a note on the product page for idiots like me, they said no, not our problem.

    2. In regard to your patent example.. Publishing would result in your company competing directly with another company that has an “improvement” yours isn’t allowed to have. They have a monopoly, you’re out of business, and the consumer loses.

      Assuming you and your competitor’s contributions were equally important, patenting would result in you both producing the same product and competing on quality/service/cost… consumer wins. The patent system is messed up but publishing is only better for those without money and/or existing IP. And in those cases it’s only better because the patent system doesn’t work. The upside is that someone else makes money and you get a little industry cred.

      It’s better in those ‘no money’ situations to simply develop the product with your own money and plenty of NDAs, pickup partners along the way, get a prelim patent once the proof of concept or better the prototype is done, ‘publish’, let the companies come to you, make them pay for the full patent, then license it to them.

      OSHW? You realize that’s not a thing right? ONLY SOFTWARE is protected by copyright laws. NOT HARDWARE.
      Why do people still think this is a thing?

  27. As a product of the fantastic marketing campaign of Makerbot; many people tried 3D printers for the first time with the Replicator 5th Gen series. After the equally fantastic failure that the 5th Gen products became, people were soured to the prospects of 3D printing being viable all together.

    Do you believe that the action of selling a product at a premium price under the falsehood of it being a top quality device should be liable for a class action lawsuit by the 3D printing community? Why or Why not? If marketing lies we’re so outrageous and false, that they manipulated new entrants into believing that the entire industry is years behind where they actually were, how can the massive debt to all other 3D printing companies ever be repaid without lawsuits?

    How many years do you believe the actions of Makerbot have set back the desktop 3D printing industry? How many dollars do you believe the actions of Makerbot have cost other 3D printing companies due to the bad reports about 3D printers in general caused by Makerbot not living up to their false claims of being the best 3D printer on the market?

  28. Question for Makerbot: What are doing to justify the higher cost of a Makerbot versus other machines (such as the Taz 5) that are more reliable, open source which allows users to customize and enhance their own machines, and are committed to allowing third party filaments to help lower usability costs?

    1. PS For a second question: Your parent company is keeping many great innovations from your target audience through patents (heated build chambers for example), how do you address the bad PR and perception that this lends to Makerbot?

  29. The world is changing and Stratasys is holding onto the old business model. Stratasys will go down in history as a company that had their chance and blew it. They could have changed the world but they were more concerned with profit margins.

  30. If I hear one more corporate reference to “Maker Movement” this “Maker” is gonna have a “Movement” on some CEO’s desk!!! 3-D printers are in the same position that snowboard manufacturers were in 1997. Suddenly there were hundreds of offerings, some good, most not so good. In the end the cream rose to the top and the quality prevailed. I’m guessing that this is what will happen with 3-D printers. In two more years you’ll be able to purchase one for less that $300 that will perform well right out of the box.
    It’s also a sort of toy at this stage. Technology for technology’s sake. The idea that one can “Build it with a 3-D printer” seems attractive when in reality some things are just better fabricated with traditional means. It’s like watching someone spend an hour with a drawing program to produce a shop drawing when I can whip one out with a pencil and ruler in 10 minutes.
    Don’t kid yourself about Ada Fruit. They’re just another business looking out for themselves. I lost all respect for Limor when she appeared on the cover of Wired all sexed up. In a community chat with him I mentioned this. Phil Torrone defended that saying it was “100% Limor”. WTF???

  31. I watched Adafruit’s show last night Ask an Engineer. I’m a long time customer of Adafruit and my daughter uses all their stuff, wants to be an engineer just like Ladyada. Kudos to Ladyada for her contributions to open source software and hardware. Visit Adafruit’s GitHub and you’ll see her contributions out there. It’s pretty awesome she is making Arduino’s in the USA too. We don’t hear about manufacturing in the USA enough.

    Did anyone here read the article on Adafruit? You guys are debating Ladyada’s looks and not paying attention at all.

    ****
    MakerBot and Open-Source
    There’s an opportunity to patch things up with the Open-source community, is MakerBot interested?

    MakerBot and Material lock-in
    Should people be able to use material in printers that they own? There is a concern that MakerBot is planning DRM and material lock-in. Does the new CEO think that people should be able to use material in printers that they own? We understand the benefits to users in knowing where their materials come from and that they are all going to perform as expected, however, what about the people out there like our customers who understand the tradeoffs using 3rd party filament? In a recent Copyright Office hearing MakerBot was mentioned, a lot. A majority of our customers and community believe they have the choice to use their printer as they see fit. Regardless, we’re concerned that using copyright as the legal mechanism to force material lock-in is a bad-scene for the 3D printing ecosystem. Stratasys owns MakerBot and currently chips materials.

    ***

    Adafruit is trying to stop MakerBot and their parent company Stratasys from ruining 3D printing filament. Will they listen to her? Probably not!

    To the MakerBot CEO, you had a good thing going with the Replicator 2 4th gen, get back to your roots!

  32. I have a Makerbot Replicator Gen 5 that was purchased by our CEO, and while it does work really well. I do run into the jamming issues, we’ve gone through two smart extruders already, and its not even the extruder that is failing, its the fact that the extruder is so enclosed so that filament waste can build up along the guide.

    The one trick to the Makerbot that I do love: Out of the box, it Just Works. Period.

    I also have a Robo3D R1 and its a constant headache of configuration issues. I really want it to work, because it has the heated bed and really is an appealing device.

      1. As far as backorders go, I have a better (read: longer) story with Printrbot. At least one month for the controller board.

        I’ve been watching the out of stock/backordered status in their store… It seems to have gotten better recently.

  33. It sounds like they want free consulting from a valuable cohort of mostly professional engineers and targeted hobbyists. While that tactic may have been okay when they were an open source company being supported by the community, MakerBot is now a closed source pure for-profit business. This means that asking us for advice on how they can make more money means we should be paid.

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