Ok, first up, we just launched a groundbreaking new product, The MakerBot Replicator 2 Desktop 3D Printer, that represents a major shift in our business. In the past, we created wooden 3D printers and most of these were sold as kits. The original Replicator is still probably the best value in 3D printers, but with the new MakerBot Replicator 2, we’ve set a new standard in prosumer desktop 3D printing and our focus has shifted from making 3D printers that you have to assemble, to selling 3D printers that work really really well for folks who want to make gorgeous models instead of hack on the machine. Don’t underestimate the power of the MakerBot Replicator 2′s powder coated steel frame. That rigidity translates into a rock solid platform for amazing models. This shift in focus for MakerBot means that there are a lot of things shifting in the way we do things and this is normal in business. We have to stay nimble to face the increased competition from both the bottom and the top of the 3D printing market.
We are having a hard time keeping up with all that’s going on in the 3D printing world, but in just a few days we’ve seen a retail store open, a whole bunch of conversations about open-source hardware and MakerBot as a company talking to the community directly as they try to get to the next level of their business. Check out the post, there’s a lot to think about and discuss if you’re looking to share your designs and also run a company with big goals. As far as Adafruit goes, our founder Ladyada only has one message – We’re going to keep shipping open-source hardware while everyone talks about this 🙂
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I’m disappointed by the path chosen by MBI for basically changing their intended audience from the the tinkerers and hackers (and engineers like us) to a more broad end-user centered approach …
of course, it’s their choice and as long as they respect the licensing of everything they used, also their right.
Business-wise I see this decision quite risk, loosing their "competitive edge"… they went from "OSHW model company" to "just another company selling quick prototyping tools"(i don’t mean it disrespectfully). By closing it’s machines/software source there is really no going back to the "small pond"…
Anyway I hope they do well, but I also hope that someone comes to fill their gap in the OpenSource Hardware community (we need open tools and tools that can be improved by ourselves)…
What I personally am looking for is some place that I can go to that would allow met to easily source components to build a rep rap printer, not a list of five different vendors who once had parts. I was considering a kit from MBI, but the prices seemed high for for what one would get.
Maybe some one (ahem) could make it a bit easier to source, and list a couple of options, I know there are a long list of possible stepper motors, maybe a selection of the best options, couple of different extruders, especially the electronics!
I wish I could believe MBI saying they will continue with the original replicator kits, but sadly I don’t fully believe that, and with that I foresee a gap in the market place..
disappointing loss for the open hardware community, admirable for adafruit to remain comitted to open hardware. for better or worse as makerbot are clearly turning their attention to the high end market, they leave a gap in the hobbyist space, for a quality low cost kit. adafruit are positioned well to compete here, perhaps by teaming up with adrian bowers new company reprap pro or another open derivitive, adding some adafruit style lasercut paneled finish to the mendel and handling US based marketing and distribution. might be worth thinking about.
I will admit, I don’t have all the information on this currently, so I could be wrong, but I don’t really see this as too big a deal. This design is closed source, sure, but the technology it is built around is still open, and presumably still being contributed to by Makerbot Industries. The unit as a whole is not reproduceable under copyright law, but its individual parts are still open, and since we take the technologies and reconfigure them anyway, we don’t need to know explicitly how it all fits together. If anything, it encourages experimentation by forcing it.
I said this before..it doesn’t matter if its closes a,d not open source…what really matters is price..a lot of people wish they could afford to buy a 3D printer.the person who invents an inexpensive one would help…only time will tell.What i don’t like is people that ripoff other peoples open source work, just to make a buck.