“At MakerBot, we’re an innovation company.”
These were the precise words that former MakerBot CEO Bre Pettis told me earlier this year in an interview. While Pettis is no longer the CEO of MakerBot, he certainly remains in the picture, and the company is still running based on this idea.
While there are only three full months remaining before we welcome in the new year, MakerBot still has a lot planned for this final quarter of 2014. With this year’s release of the Replicator 5th generation 3D printers, MakerBot has been busy upgrading software, coming out with new apps, and expanding the features on their digital design repository, Thingiverse.
Later this fall, Version 3.3 of the MakerBot Desktop App will be released. It will include a new device preferences section that will allow for more easy access and modification of your 3D printer settings. It will also provide the ability for the Replicator 3D printers to automatically unload filament when they run out. In normal situations, a little tiny piece of filament remains in the extruder when a spool is finished, and this has been known to cause some clogging issues. Version 3.3 has this covered.
As well as fixing some minor bugs in the previous version, 3.3 will also enhance the cameras on the 5th Generation Replicators. Cameras will be able to achieve faster frame rates, as well as allow for viewing over USB. Finally, users will also be able to view their print history in their library, and if need be, easily reprint these objects.
Not too long after the 3.3 release will come the doozy. Version 3.4 will be one of the best updates yet for the desktop app, not only improving upon user options and the user interface, but actually increasing the quality of printed objects as well. Some of the updates include:
- Significant improvements to print quality and slicing.
- A new advanced calibration tool for tuning first layers and rafts.
- Auto update functionality, so you don’t have to reinstall.
- Ability to print via your network without having to manually confirm (press printer’s button or dial).
- Ability to view the build plate via your printer’s camera.
- Post-print: Reprint an item and share to Thingiverse from the onboard camera if it’s a public item
The desktop app isn’t the only feature seeing updates prior to the end of this year. The mobile app will see improvements as well. Version 1.1 will be released for iOS, supporting the new iPhone 6, iPhone 6+ and iPad screen resolutions. For Android users, Version 1.0 will finally be released, allowing for printing, monitoring and library access via the app.
If you recall, back in June, MakerBot announced their PrintShop which allows for the easy design and printing of various items. Currently, they have had the “Bracelet Maker”, the “Ring Maker”, and the “Type Maker”, all of which allow anyone with whatever level of design ability to create their own unique objects. This fall, the MakerBot PrintShop will see the addition of two new modifiable objects. MakerBot will add the “Vase Maker” and the “Medal Maker”, which will respectively allow for the creation of unique vases and badge-like plastic medals. The vases can be modified to any shape or size desired, while the medals would make for the perfect awards for competitive events.
Lastly, MakerBot plans on adding a new section to Thingiverse. “Thingiverse Groups” will be launching prior to us welcoming in the new year, and it will allow for collaboration between community members. Members can discuss certain designs or topics, and provide their own feedback, suggestions and more to the group. It should be interesting to see how well this new idea catches on.
So there you have it. There are only 3 months left on the year, but MakerBot has a whole lot planned. Which are you most looking forward to seeing? Discuss in the MakerBot Updates forum thread on 3DPB.com.
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