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Bre Pettis Launches ‘Bold Machines’ Innovation Workshop & Begins Creating the ‘Margo’ Movie

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A little more than three weeks ago, the 3D printing community was astonished when we broke the news that MakerBot CEO Bre Pettis would be stepping down as CEO of the company in which he had founded, in order to lead a new “Innovation Workshop” at Stratasys. At the time, there was no word on exactly what the Innovation Workshop would encompass. Today, however, there is some more information on this initiative, as well as the launch of its first project, a 3D printed feature film.

The guys and girls running Bold Machines

The guys and girls running Bold Machines

The Innovation Workshop now has a name and a website. It is called Bold Machines, and the team consists of former MakerBot CEO and co-founder Bre Pettis; Robert Steiner, former Special Operations Officer and Director of Product Development at MakerBot; Aljosa Kemperle; and Elizabeth Randel.

Bold Machines is a partnership between Stratasys, MakerBot and Solidscape which has hopes of “pushing the edges of what is possible with 3D printing technology”. In the workshop they are currently utilizing 10 MakerBot Replicator Z18 3D printers, along with a Stratasys Fortus 900, a Stratasys Objet 500 Connex3, and a Solidscape 3Z Max2.

“We’re looking for people, businesses, and brands to collaborate with,” explains a synopsis on the Bold Machines website. “If you want to make things that will blow minds, we’d like to collaborate to make interesting things happen. We want to enable old and new friends to make wonderful things.”

Basically, the idea behind this initiative is to help businesses and creative individuals use 3D printing to come up with new, innovative ideas, hence the term “Innovation Workshop”. 3D printing, as we have seen, has no limit on its number of uses, and we are only beginning to see some of the incredible possibilities that this technology offers to mankind. What better person to lead this operation, than the man who brought consumer-level 3D printing to the masses, Bre Pettis?


As the first project undertaken by the newly formed Bold Machines, they have teamed with a 3D character artist and illustrator, named Jose Alves da Silva. He’s been hired by Bold Machines to help in the creation of a 3D Printed Movie called “Margo”.


3D Models of Margo from the Feature Film ‘Margo’

“About two years ago, Robert (Steiner) and I came into work on a Saturday to spend some time with a whiteboard,” wrote Bre Pettis. “We added some structure to an idea that I’d had to make all the characters for a movie. We developed characters, got models made, and now we have done the whole movie-making backwards by starting with the merchandising. It’s all 3D printable movie merchandising, of course. We’re looking forward to conversations with film-makers about bringing Margo to the silver screen. Margo is our first project and it’s all about seeing how 3D printing can impact the film industry. We intend to explore the impact that 3D printing can have on many industries as we begin our work with great partners, brands, artists, and engineers.”

Bre Pettis and Mr. Walthersnap

Bre Pettis and Mr. Walthersnap

As for the story, Margo is a young female detective whose parents have gone on a space exploration mission. Without knowing what has happened to them, Margo is left with a cryptic message and a key that leads her to a secret laboratory under the Brooklyn Bridge, which apparently is run by her parents. This laboratory is full of all sorts of cool machines and contraptions such as robots, jet packs, and more. She is to use these machines and gadgets to help destroy a sinister plot that has been planned by a local business man named Mr. Walthersnap.

With this interesting announcement about the launch of Bold Machines, and this soon-to-be movie, “Margo”, the digital design files for the main character, Margo have been made available for download on Thingiverse. These 3D printable models have been designed by the one and only Jose Alves da Silva, based on Pettis, and Steiner’s rough sketches of their characters. There are 24 individual object files that make up this first design for Margo. They can all be 3D printed without support, and then assembled using hot glue, to make your very own replica of the movie’s main character.

Mr. Walthersnap and Margo

Mr. Walthersnap and Margo

Each and every week, on Monday, Bold Machines will release yet another character from this upcoming movie onto Thingiverse, for anyone to download and print free of charge. Next week, the model of the evil Mr. Walthersnap will be made available.

This is quite a unique method for going about creating a feature film. Typically when creating a movie, a storyline is first drawn up, then a movie is produced. Then if that movie is successful, characters, toys, and other tradmarked merchandise is made available for sale. What Pettis, and his team at Bold Machines is doing, is quite extraordinary, in that they are reversing this methodology, and it may actually be the most brilliant way of creating a movie yet.

The idea is to build up the plot, the storyline and most importantly, an affinity for the characters involved in the story. What Bold Machines is doing, is creating a buzz, and a following for a movie that has yet to be released, thus when it does finally hit theatres, there will be a reason to go see it. Through a partnership that they will be forming with a production company in the near future, this movie will hopefully come to the big screen.

What do you think about the launch of Bold Machines, and their first project of creating a 3D printed feature film?  Will it succeed?  Discuss in the Bold Machines forum thread on  Check out some more photos of some of the characters from the movie below:






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