February 14, 2014

MakerBot Brings 3D Printing to College Campuses and Business Centers

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MakerBot Cuts Ribbon for Innovation Center at SUNY New Paltz

Last week 3D printing manufacturer MakerBot unveiled plans to install MakerBot Innovation Centers in college campuses and businesses, with each Innovation Center featuring a minimum of 30 3D printers.

“Having a MaketBot Innovation Center in a place of business or in a university can change the whole dynamic of the new product iteration and innovation cycle. Class projects can be brought to life through 3D printing and scanning. Product prototypes can be created, refined and finalized at a much faster and affordable pace. Schools can train future innovators and be ahead of the curve when it comes to preparing students for the real world,” explains MakerBot CEO Bre Pettis.

Building on the University’s Digital Design and Fabrication program, New York’s SUNY New Paltz will open the first Innovation Center on Feb 11th. Pettis will attend the opening ceremonies and speak to the student body and faculty, presumably with the goal of outlining the potential for innovation MakerBot Innovation Centers offer the surrounding community.

The College of the Ouachitas in Malvern, Arkansas houses the largest of MakerBot’s Innovation Centers and partners with local and regional plastic engineering businesses. The college added an Innovation Center as a continuation of its Project Lead the Way, which will also feature 3D printing programs as part of the university’s curriculum and offer a desktop 3D desktop printing certificate of training.

An industry leader in 3D printing, MarketBot has been build printers for everyone from architects to educators. The company focuses on the innovative potential of 3D printing technology, so opening Innovation Centers only reinforces MakerBot’s mission to expand the scope of 3D printing.

While not yet able to compete with traditional manufacturing in terms of price or quality, the 3D printing market was still estimated at $2.2 billion in 2013 by the Economist. 3D printing represents a paradigm shift from traditional manufacturing by creating objects through additive manufacturing (the process of creating objects through sequential layering), which contrasts with the traditional approach that usually entails the removal of material through cutting or drilling.

How do you think 3D printing will drive innovation? Tell us your ideas in the comments.