Bre Pettis Leaves Stratasys, Taking Bold Machines With Him, Looking to ‘Change the World’


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Bre Pettis of Bold Machines

From the moment Bre Pettis began exploring 3D printing technology, he knew he was onto something special. It was first MakerBot, where he built up the largest and most successful desktop 3D printer manufacturer in the world, before selling the company to Stratasys for a hefty sum. While the move was met with some opposition at first, in the end it was a good move for all involved. A little while after the acquisition by Stratasys, Bre Pettis moved on from MakerBot to head up a new “Innovation Workshop” at Stratasys, called Bold Machines. At first, there was a little confusion as to what this move meant and why it was taking place, but as time went by, we began to see that Bold Machines was a way for both Pettis and Stratasys to realize his true talents.

At Bold Machines, Pettis has run a small team which has taken 3D printing to a whole new level. Bre has remained a legend within the 3D printing space, perhaps for his incredible innovative mind, or maybe his energetic, and exciting personality which has made him a celebrity in an industry filled with serious minded, oftentimes boring executives. With a marketing genius perhaps comparable to Steve Jobs, and a persona that combines a little Richard Branson with  hints of Mark Cuban, Pettis has certainly made a name for himself, and for the work in which he has done.

breboldOver the past two weeks, Bold Machines has released many really unique projects which all show that 3D printing is more than just a technology for creating plastic doodads and trinkets.

Today, Bre Pettis, Stratasys, and Bold Machines have announced that the company which Pettis has headed up since last year has officially been spun off into its own entity.

In talking with Pettis earlier today, learned that through a negotiation process which is being kept under wraps, at least for the time being, Pettis has taken over control and ownership of Bold Machines. He is no longer an employee of Stratasys, and Bold Machines is no longer an entity of the company. Pettis tells us that his goals for Bold Machines are to “change the world” with the help of 3D printing, and there will be some forthcoming projects in the near future which will attempt to do just that.

Robert Steiner,  GM of Bold Machines standing inside one of their recent projects with Emerging Objects

Robert Steiner, GM of Bold Machines standing inside one of their recent projects with Emerging Objects

“I have built tools that empower other people to build products for the last decade, and I’m excited to jump over the fence and build products myself,” explains Pettis. “With a strong passion for innovation and the future of product design, we will begin a new chapter with Bold Machines. We believe that by changing the way things are made, 3D printing will have incalculable impact on our lives and our future.”

This is quite an interesting turn of events for both Pettis and Stratasys. Pettis has been shown to be very capable of running, establishing and building up a company, as we saw with MakerBot in the past. Now he will have that same opportunity, but this time, he will innovate upon the uses for 3D printing rather than the hardware behind the uses.  If he is even slightly as successful as he has been in the past, we are all in for something special.

Another project that Bold Machines partnered on.

Another project that Bold Machines partnered on.

Under Stratasys, Bold Machines was limited to using only Stratasys/MakerBot 3D printers, so I asked Pettis if that will change now that he has the chance to use virtually any 3D printers he would like in the creation of new projects. While he stated that he now does have that option, he also emphasized that he doesn’t feel as though there is any need to stray outside of the Stratasys brand, as these machines provide him with all the capabilities that he needs.

As for Stratasys, there is no doubt that they are losing a valuable resource in Pettis, but they too plan to continue to innovate new products and work with new partners in the future.

”It’s important to have entities such as Bold Machines to advance the adoption of 3D printing and make it more accessible,” said David Reis, Chief Executive Officer at Stratasys. “Bre is a visionary and has an unceasing desire to answer the question ‘What’s Next?’ I look forward to a continued close-working relationship with Bre. Stratasys will continue to innovate new products, as well as work with its partners and customers to pioneer ground-breaking applications, to make 3D printing more accessible and widely adopted.”

It will certainly be interesting to see just what type of creations Pettis and his team at Bold Machines will be capable of, now working as their own independent company. We will surely see much more from Pettis in the near future. He tells us that Bold Machines will be quiet for a little while, before they relaunch with plenty of projects on the horizon. In the mean time, they are currently looking for partners to work with in order to change the world, one 3D print at a time.

What do you think of this move by Pettis and Stratasys? Is Pettis better off working independently? Discuss in the Bre Pettis / Bold Machines forum thread on


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