I got a peek behind the scenes at MakerBot when I visited the grand opening of their new factory at Industry City in Sunset Park, Brooklyn. Given MakerBot’s recent rocky history, this is an exciting development for the company (doubling their production capacity) and the 3D printing industry as a whole. MakerBot has a 10 year lease with their building, which means they are committed to maintaining a long-term manufacturing operation in NYC. Here are some photos from my visit to their new manufacturing center.
One of the most contentious issues for MakerBot recently has been their smart extruder. On this topic, they assure us extruder problems are a thing of the past. Here is what they have changed:
– The number of people working on smart extruder was recently tripled
– Average customer wait times to get through to a MakerBot customer service representative have gone from 11 minutes to under 30 seconds
– Customer complaints about the smart extruder have fallen 40%
– All smart extruders are tested in a printer before going out the door
Here, some smart extruders are being assembled and checked for quality.
Here is a rack of test printers hard at work.
Here is a bin of tested smart extruders, ready to go.
All the jigs and fixtures used for assembling the printer’s gantry are designed and printed in house, and updated as improvements are discovered. Pictured below is one of the many jigs used in the assembly process, designed and printed on a MakerBot.
Workers assemble printers, piece by piece.
In addition to an abundance of printers, MakerBot’s new factory has a suite of prototyping equipment, including a 3-axis CNC mill, metal lathe, laser cutter, and vacuum former. With these capabilities on hand, and the launch of this new factory, MakerBot hopes to be turning a corner.