“Our goal is to democractize manufacturing. In term of competition, the more 3D printers the better. We want to get the technology into as many hands as possible,” says Pettis of MakerBot, which is as much a public service as it is a business.
MakerBot Industries’ story reads like a Utopian dream, and may be a bit intimidating to other start-ups, but rest assured not everything runs smoothly. Asked for a horror story, Pettis recalled a bit of an international incident: “We’re almost entirely American made, except for electronics that come from China. Turns out there’s a month in spring that’s Chinese New Year and we couldn’t get parts.” The lesson here? Pay attention to other nations’ bank holidays, because it may impact your business.
Pettis also offered two pieces of advice. First: “Have a good relationship with your shipping company.” And the second: never be afraid to ask other entrepreneurs for guidance: “Basically, we’re engineers and had to learn on the fly, and turned to friends who told us about things we have never considered, like having insurance.” Pettis cited Wired editor Chris Anderson and the team at another open source company, Adafruit Industries, as huge influences on MakerBot’s early success.
Make a robot friend with Adafruit’s CRICKIT – A Creative Robotics & Interactive Construction Kit. It’s an add-on to our popular Circuit Playground Express, FEATHER and other platforms to make and program robots with CircuitPython, MakeCode, and Arduino. Start controlling motors, servos, solenoids. You also get signal pins, capacitive touch sensors, a NeoPixel driver and amplified speaker output. It complements & extends your boards so you can still use all the goodies on the microcontroller, now you have a robotics playground as well.