“When computer labs first started going into schools, educators noticed a transformation taking place with students’ enthusiasm and interest in learning,” Frank Alfano, acting CEO of MakerBot, said. “We see that same type of excitement in students, faculty and the community when they have access to MakerBot 3D printing products in schools.”

MakerBot_logoMakerBot, that bastion of all things 3D printing, is expanding its reach even further into an important area for all 3D printing manufacturers and industry participants: education.

We’ve covered MakerBot’s Innovation Centers since they were first announced last February. Those centers have been a hit at several institutions of higher education, starting with SUNY New Paltz in New York.

Another school in the State University of New York system is one of the first two customers of the just-announced MakerBot Starter Lab, as SUNY College of Agriculture and Technology at Cobleskill (SUNY Cobleskill) and Schenectady, New York-based Union College represent the first to invest in the new starting package to ‘jumpstart’ their 3D printing offerings on campus.

“The MakerBot Starter Lab is designed to help educational institutions prepare students to be more college and career ready by providing them with relevant, competitive skills today,” said Alfano.

With 3D printing an undeniable force in this presumed third industrial revolution, and on the heels of the New Media Consortium Horizon Report 2015 regarding Higher Education, identifying 3D printing and makerspaces as a top trend, MakerBot is ready to help launch new programs. The Starter Lab system is intended to provide the initial basis for an institution to introduce 3D printing to the community — ideal for schools of all levels, libraries, and businesses looking to add additive manufacturing to their offerings.MakerBot Starter Lab

“For businesses, a MakerBot Starter Lab can provide a competitive advantage as an investment in future technology that fuels new ideas and growth. 3D printing can speed up innovation and iteration, help facilitate Real-Time Prototyping and shorten product design cycles,” Alfano noted.

The MakerBot Starter Lab includes the framework for introducing a new institution to the MakerBot ecosystem, including hardware, software, materials, and training and support. According to MakerBot, the purchase of a Starter Lab will bring with it:

Hardware:z18

  • 4 MakerBot Replicator Desktop 3D Printers
  • 1 MakerBot Replicator Z18 3D Printer
  • 1 MakerBot Replicator Mini Compact 3D Printer
  • 1 MakerBot Digitizer Desktop 3D Scanner
  • 10 swappable MakerBot Replicator Smart Extruders

Materials and Accessories:

  • 80 spools of the most popular MakerBot PLA Filament True, Translucent, and specialty colors (include Small, Large and XXL)
  • Cart, Spool Holder, and grease packet for MakerBot Replicator Z18
  • Racking and build plate tapesmart extruder

Training, Support, and Software:

  • MakerBot Starter Lab Workshop and Q&A session
  • Expert installation
  • MakerCare Protection Plans for all hardware and six-month hardware warranty
  • Free downloads of MakerBot Desktop, MakerBot Printshop, and MakerBot Mobile

Those who have already purchased the MakerBot Starter Lab are looking forward to discovering the full potential of what it can offer their students. The Starter Lab is in place at Union College, and as Assistant Professor of Computer John Rieffel said, “The MakerBot Starter Lab has already helped the college quickly make 3D printing accessible to more students to foster creativity and collaboration.” The system encourages that community feeling familiar to makers across the globe, and student projects at Union College have already included 3D modeling and printing applications in mathematics, history, and art courses.

At SUNY Cobleskill, faculty and staff are excited about the prospects their forthcoming Starter Lab setup will provide. As SUNY Cobleskill President Dr. Debra H. Thatcher noted, “We’re excited to explore the new possibilities and applications that MakerBot’s cutting-edge 3D printing technology will afford our entire spectrum of learning environments.”

Those interested in inquiring about the MakerBot Starter Lab for their own institutions can fill out a request for a quote form at the Starter Lab website, or call 855-347-4780 for more information.

Would the MakerBot Starter Lab help a school or business you know of get started on the way to establishing their own makerspace, or eventual full Innovation Center? Let us know what you foresee for this new offering over at the MakerBot Starter Lab forum thread at 3DPB.com.
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