“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.
Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on code.org, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, TinyGO, or even use the Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for CircuitPython, MakeCode, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.