Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Stratasys Merging with Makerbot

Well, I'll be.  Stratasys, maker of expensive, industrial-quality 3D printers is merging with Makerbot, the leader in accessible, desktop 3D printers.  According to the 6.19.13 news release, Makerbot "has sold more than 22,000 3D printers since 2009. In the last nine months, the MakerBot Replicator 2 Desktop 3D Printer accounted for 11,000 of those sales."  Incredible.

It is Maketbot's success in the consumer market that led a recent TechCrunch article to compare Makerbot to Apple:

3D printing isn’t new, just as computing wasn’t new when Apple hit the scene.  Makerbot, like Apple, made it accessible.

3D printing has been around for over 30 years. Stratasys was founded in 1988, just two years after 3D Systems, which is credited as the first 3D printing company.  (The first working 3D printer, designed by Chuck Hull of 3D Systems, used the stereolithography technique - which is where the .stl file type comes from.  He hold the patent for stereolithography... pretty cool, eh?)

Anyway, back the the merger.  The proposed merger has an initial value of $403 million (in stocks).  Right now, it's planned that MakerBot will operate as a separate subsidiary of Stratasys - keeping its brand... and Thingiverse.  For now.  Makerbot already let go of its open-source roots when the Replicator 2 came out.  These machines are reportedly being used more and more by "prosumers" - engineers and other professionals.  It will be interesting where all of Makerbot's loyal "makers" will fit into all of this.

1 comment:

  1. I have a 3D printing. I like it but it's too slow and have a long time to print an object.