One of the main reasons that we have not seen mass adoption of 3D printers just yet, is because most people are under the assumption that they need to be technically sophisticated and versed in 3D design in order to use one. While this isn’t entirely true, the process of 3D printing objects on consumer level 3D printers does come with several complications. There are all the technical aspects, such as downloading a design, modifying it via design software, slicing it, and generating gcode, prior to actually sending it to the 3D printer. To the average person, this is enough to prevent them from purchasing a 3D printer.
It won’t be until 3D printing becomes as easy and carefree as its 2-dimensional counterpart, that it will fully catch on among the masses. Think about it. If you could simply click a single button on your computer or tablet screen, in order to 3D print an object, wouldn’t you be more likely to purchase a 3D printer? Would your grandparents even consider it? Perhaps.
Thanks to MakerBot, a company that refers to themselves as an “innovation company”, this is now possible. Today, MakerBot has announced the release of MakerBot® PrintShop™, an innovative app that has the potential to help make 3D printing become much more common in households around the world.
MakerBot Printshop is now available to download for free in the iTunes App Store. Anyone with an iPad and a Fifth Generation MakerBot Replicator 3D printer can begin using the new app, as of now, to create elaborate 3D printed objects without the need for any design knowledge, or 3D printing skills.
“MakerBot PrintShop is the first app designed for people with no experience in 3D printing and no design experience,” explained MakerBot. “This consumer-friendly app allows creation without a learning curve. Want to create beautiful and functional jewelry, signs, or access a personal Thingiverse Library? MakerBot PrintShop guides the user through a simple, yet intuitive interface that virtually creates custom 3D prints in a matter of minutes. All MakerBot PrintShop selected prints are MakerBot verified to ensure virtually full-proof 3D printing. No guesswork, sizing, or use of complicated design software. MakerBot PrintShop also works over WiFi, so just log on, create and print to a WiFi enabled Fifth Generation MakerBot Replicator 3D Printer.”
Now virtually anyone can select a 3D printable design from MakerBot’s curated library, and 3D print it with a few touches of their iPad screen. Whether you are 5 years old, or 105 years old, 3D printing has suddenly become an easy task. MakerBot PrintShop uses the cloud, in order to access a curated library of designs that the company has verified to print with ease. The app also has three unique features which make the 3D design and printing process a piece of cake. These features include MakerBot PrintShop Type Maker, Ring Maker, and Bracelet Maker, which assist in the creation of and printing of these intriguing designs.
Type Maker allows users to simply enter text, such as letters, words, nameplates, signs, etc., modify them via the easy to use interface, and send them directly off to their MakerBot Replicator 5th Generation 3D printer. Ring Maker provides an easy to use template for making a ring with various tops, including bells, crowns, viking helmets, diamonds, baseball caps, flowers, an owl, a turtle shell, and much more. The user can then customize the exact size that they wish to print, and send it off to get manufactured on their desktop 3D printer. Bracelet Maker, is similar to Ring Maker, in that it allows users to customize and size their own bracelet, picking from different abstract patterns, and designs. More features will certainly be added in the near future.
“With the introduction of MakerBot PrintShop, we believe we have finally provided a piece of software that helps bring 3D printing to the masses,” noted Bre Pettis, CEO of MakerBot. “We have removed the obstacle of not knowing 3D design to be able to 3D print. MakerBot PrintShop takes that challenge out of the equation and makes 3D printing fun and easy, as well as accessible for all ages and skill levels.”
This appears to be a gigantic step in the right direction for MakerBot, a company that continues to try and stay one step ahead of their competition. With the influx of new, cheaper 3D printers hitting the market on almost a weekly basis, they need to innovate in ways that give them the upper hand. This certainly appears to be one of those methods to convince people with little knowledge of 3D printing to join the MakerBot movement.
What do you think? Will this app convince more people to purchase 3D printers, specifically MakerBots? Discuss in the MakerBot PrintShop forum thread on 3DPB.com
Check out some of the examples of prints that can be made using the in app features:
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