If I talk to someone who’s only marginally familiar with 3D printing, the one printer they’ve usually heard of is the MakerBot. It is, quite possibly, the most well-known of 3D printers, the closest thing the industry has to a true household name. One of the most popular printers for hobbyists, the MakerBot has generated some of the most important innovations the 3D printing industry has seen – like the original 3D printed prosthetic hand that launched e-NABLE, for example. Founded in 2009 and purchased by Stratasys in 2013, MakerBot holds several industry “firsts” – theirs was the first 3D printer to be presented at CES, and their Thingiverse platform was the first online platform for the open sharing of 3D designs. Now MakerBot has announced the achievement of another first – the first company to sell 100,000 3D printers.
“Being the first company to have sold 100,000 3D printers is a major milestone for MakerBot and the entire industry. MakerBot has made 3D printing more accessible and today is empowering businesses and educators to redefine what’s possible. What was once a product used only by makers and hobbyists has matured significantly and become an indispensable tool that is changing the way students learn and businesses innovate,” said MakerBot CEO Jonathan Jaglom.
Education is certainly one factor in MakerBot’s success. Through a series of Thingiverse challenges, many of them focused on students, they’ve encouraged kids and adults alike to use their creativity to design some ingenious inventions. Initiatives like MakerBot in the Classroom and We Need a MakerBot have introduced 3D printing education into schools, and MakerBot Innovation Centers have opened in universities across the world. That’s a lot of printers in a lot of schools, and both the company and the educational institutions they’ve reached out to have benefited – not to mention the industry as a whole, as more and more young people become trained in the technology.
“3D printing has become a major focal point in our school with children as young as five using tools like MakerBot PrintShop to create their own designs. Because MakerBot 3D Printers are so easy to use, our middle school students can move on to more advanced projects. Right now they are working together to find sustainable solutions in urban planning and above all learning crucial skills that they will use for the rest of their lives like critical thinking, collaboration and product development,” noted Yolanda Valencia, chair of science and engineering at Gulliver Middle School in Miami.
To celebrate the 100,000 printer milestone, MakerBot is doing what they love – introducing a contest. The #MakerMilestones competition encourages makers to share their own 3D printing milestones on social media, for a chance to win a MakerBot Replicator.
“We’re challenging people across our social media platforms to share their #MakerMilestones. Tell us the moment in which 3D printing inspired you, changed the way you work or led to a positive outcome for a student, colleague, or friend,” said Vice President of Marketing Colby Dennison.
To enter, share your story, plus an optional photo, on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram with the hashtag #MakerMilestones, and make sure to tag @MakerBot as well. A panel of five judges will choose the three winners out of the 50 most popular posts on each platform. The deadline for entry is June 15; winners will be announced by June 22.
If you don’t care to enter, you can still purchase a MakerBot Replicator at a significant discount – the normally $2,899 printer will be reduced to $2,499 also until June 15. Care for a stroll down memory lane? Take a look at our long history of MakerBot coverage here, and if you’d like some extra inspiration, check out how MakerBot – and 3D printing in general – has impacted students at the University of Maryland below. Discuss in the MakerBot 3D Printer Milestone forum over at 3DPB.com.