As if this wasn’t already a week filled with incredible news, crazy new printers, and interesting projects related to 3D printing, MakerBot has just made several major announcements.

At last year’s CES, MakerBot made headlines with the unveiling of three new desktop 3D printers. They were clearly the winners of the 2014 International CES, and had already made it clear that this year they would not be rolling out any new hardware. Hardware isn’t everything within the 3D printing space, though. In fact, one could argue that it’s the software, materials, and services which truly drive the industry forward.

m1“Last year was a really big year for us,” stated Jenny Lawton, CEO of MakerBot. “We brought three new MakerBot Replicator 3D Printers to market, plus we launched numerous other initiatives including MakerBot Desktop, MakerBot Mobile and MakerBot PrintShop; we introduced the MakerBot Digital Store and brought on licensed partners Sesame Street, Uglydoll, Hello Kitty and Martha Stewart; and we expanded our global presence with MakerBot Europe and our retail presence to the point where MakerBot Replicator 3D Printers and the MakerBot Digitizer™ Desktop 3D Scanner are now available in more than 500 retail stores throughout the U.S. and Europe. That is a lot. For 2015, we are focused on enhancing the overall MakerBot 3D Ecosystem by listening to our users, fine-tuning our 3D printers, iterating our software and apps to unlock their full potential, and launching new MakerBot PLA Composite Filaments as well as services that will make 3D printing even more interesting and accessible.”

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To start, MakerBot has announced a new line of 3D printer PLA composite filaments. For those familiar with colorFabb’s various composites like their bronzeFill, copperFill, and woodFill, these latest additions by MakerBot seem to follow suit. These filaments are made using real metal, wood, and stone, and provide users with the ability to print objects which appear to be made from anything but plastic. The material, which is highly stabilized, is compatible with the fifth-generation MakerBot Replicator 3D printers. The new PLA composites are made specifically to work with the latest swappable MakerBot Smart Extruder, and will begin shipping later in 2015. Further details on price and availability are forthcoming.

The company has also announced the launch of MakerBot 3D Professional Services. These services will leverage MakerBot’s years of experience within the industry to cater towards customers of all types. The services will include the following:

  • MakerBot Innovation Center Management Platform
  • Consulting
  • MakerBot Learning
  • MakerBot 3D Design Services
  • MakerBot 3D Printed Products

“We know there is a lot of hype around 3D printing,” stated Lawton. “We also know that 3D printing is not plug and play. It can be challenging and that is why a major emphasis is on creating a MakerBot 3D Ecosystem that helps make 3D printing easier and more accessible. At CES, we want to ground the hype and showcase how educators, businesses and real users have incorporated MakerBot 3D printing into their daily work and lives.”

Additionally, MakerBot has announced a partnership with UK-based software company The Foundry. MakerBot will make available an application for MODO 801. The MakerBot Kit for MODO 801, as they call it, will allow for MODO and m3Thingiverse users to store, 3D print, and share designs made with the MODO 801 software.

Lastly, there are some other bits of information being revealed this week by MakerBot at 2015 CES. This includes the MakerBot Thingiverse and GE FirstBuild Icebox Challenge Winners, as well as a sneak peek at some of Martha Stewart’s new collections designed for the MakerBot Digital Store.

We will be live at CES today to speak with Jenny Lawton, and hopefully take some photographs of these new materials mentioned above.  Stay tuned to this article for an update.  Let’s hear your thoughts on all this in the MakerBot forum at 3DPB.com.

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