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MakerBot Merging With Stratasys 65

Posted by Soulskill
from the layer-by-layer dept.
MakerBot Industries, creators of the popular Thing-O-Matic and Replicator line of 3-D printers, is being acquired by Stratasys, a company that's been working on 3-D printing and production systems since 1989. '[Stratasys] facilitates the printing of prototypes, concepts, components, parts and more on an industrial scale and for commercial applications. ... Stratasys has demonstrated it’s going to be aggressive about owning the 3D printing space, and the MakerBot buy is the consumer-focused piece in that puzzle. For MakerBot, it gives the startup access to Stratasys’ wealth of industry experience.' According to the official news release, 'MakerBot will operate as a separate subsidiary of Stratasys, maintaining its own identity, products and go-to-market strategy.' MakerBot has sold 11,000 of its Replicator 2 devices in the past 9 months, accounting for half of all its 3-D printer sales since 2009.
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MakerBot Merging With Stratasys

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  • Patents? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Guspaz (556486) on Wednesday June 19, 2013 @05:40PM (#44054469)

    Stratasys has some patents on 3D printing, so that might be relevant here. One of their more important patents is about making a 3D FDM printer (like the makerbot) with an enclosed build area. Nobody but stratasys is allowed to enclose the build area (existing printers normally have the build area open-air to avoid this patent). Obvious, yes, but nobody has bothered to challenge it yet.

    Perhaps makerbot realized that if they wanted to continue to improve their product, they'd start running afoul of such patents, hence the merger?

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Their un-expired patent only covers a heated and enclosed build area, not all enclosed areas.

      • Re:Patents? (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Telvin_3d (855514) on Wednesday June 19, 2013 @06:44PM (#44055101)

        Yeah, but almost any serious printing requires a heated print area, even if only for the first layers. Otherwise things cool off too fast.

        • by gl4ss (559668)

          only abs printing needs that.. PLA, PET, nylon.. you don't need the heated bed.

          the heated bed is just a hack anyways. try to print anything bigger than a finger and you pretty much want to have a heated area. if you close down the area the bed is in, you sort of get get that.

          now the question is what happens with makerbot products. will they fix them or not? there's various ways in how they suck ass(I got a replicator 1 and no way in hell was it possible to out of the box print the stuff bre "suckass" pattis

    • by Anonymous Coward

      It's not like MakerBot ran down to Stratasys HQ, and said, merge us!

      This was a calculated move by Stratasys to challenge upstarts like Formlabs.

    • They have now aquired Makerbot and will keep it seperate, which means they can now start trolling other companies with their stratasys patents and keep selling under the Makerbot name avoiding backlash from the community in general.
      • Re:Patents? (Score:5, Informative)

        by Applekid (993327) on Wednesday June 19, 2013 @08:25PM (#44055951)

        They have now aquired Makerbot and will keep it seperate, which means they can now start trolling other companies with their stratasys patents and keep selling under the Makerbot name avoiding backlash from the community in general.

        Makerbot has already sullied their name in the community by stealing from the Open Source guys, claiming credit for all home 3d printing innovation despite the existence of the Reprap project, and putting terms of service on their object repository Thingiverse that basically says, regardless of the license you select for the works you upload, you give them a permanent, irrevocable right to do whatever they want rights-wise with your stuff, including commercial use and only a "promise" in a blog that they won't violate that trust. Except, now, it's Stratasys's trust now. Ha.

        • by laird (2705)

          This is an absurd mis-representation. Given that both have been hashed over and discredited long ago, I'll post a correction to your errors:

          First, MBI hasn't claimed "credit for all home 3d printing innovation despite the existence of the Reprap project" - they were formed specifically to commercialize the RepRap project, cooperatively with the RepRap project. MBI credits and links to the RepRap project, and vice versa. Almost all of MBI's software is FOSS (Skeinforge, Miracle Grue, Conveyor, Replicator G,

          • by Applekid (993327)

            First, MBI hasn't claimed "credit for all home 3d printing innovation despite the existence of the Reprap project" - they were formed specifically to commercialize the RepRap project, cooperatively with the RepRap project. MBI credits and links to the RepRap project, and vice versa.

            I guess you haven't seen any of Bre's world press tours. When he mentions Reprap, it's only with the context that he had trouble making it work and came up with the Cupcake because the Reprap sucks. Obvious paraphrasing aside, the message is clear. That Reprap project you might have heard about? Yeah, don't bother. Get a Makerbot.

            Second, they aren't "putting terms of service on their object repository Thingiverse that basically says, regardless of the license you select for the works you upload, you give them a permanent, irrevocable right to do whatever they want rights-wise with your stuff". The TOS gives them the rights, but you left off the limitation that the rights are granted only for the purposes of operating Thingiverse.

            Nice try.

            Groundwork:

            Company provides a service for users to share digital designs that can be printed on 3D printers to create physical objects (collectively, with all other services provided through the Site, the "Services").

            So let's play rules parsing, shall we? "Services" is defined widely. It definitely includes the "sharing of digital designs that can be printed on 3D printers t

    • by Guano_Jim (157555)

      I think that FDM printing is going to go the way of the dodo pretty fast. It's slow, imprecise, and prone to messy failures. I say this as someone who owns a Replicator1 and a Printrbot Simple, both FDM printers.

      I think it's more likely that this purchase is going to let MakerBot start competing in, and eventually dominate the hobbyist/prosumer stereolithography space, currently being owned by the resin-based FormLabs Form1 printer, with the b9Creator and mUVe1 hot on its heels.

      That is, provided Stratasys s

      • by laird (2705)

        While STL printing (B9, Form1) are very promising, and is great for some applications, right now that technology has some serious limitations when compared to FDM printing.
        - Expense. Not only do FDM printers cost less, FDM printing is 5-10x cheaper than STL. Competition should drive down prices over time, as it has for FDM filament, but that's still a HUGE issue when printing FDM cost "cents" and printing STL costs "dollars".
        - Complexity. STL printers use a resin which is stinky and dangerous (handle with g

    • by LoRdTAW (99712)

      Bre and team wanted to sell this thing from day one. Before anyone knew what a makerbot was I met the team at MDM East 2009, a medical device manufacturing trade show that also featured design and packaging shows as well. In the manufacturing design section, the big attraction was the large commercial 3D printers for prototyping parts. They were walking around toting their little wooden makerbot trying to shop the idea to whoever might be interested in it. A month later they were featured in a Pop-Sci artic

  • I can't wait to see the shit storm on the reprap.org forums...

    • by citizenr (871508)

      Why? its not like they have any credibility left. Bre sold out a long time ago, it all started with Thingiverse EULA.

      • I'm not saying it's surprising, but the number of "I told you so" comments will be near infinite.

  • more about the stores, brand and Thingiverse than anything else, thought it does give them a great platform to litigate like crazy, all they have to do is threaten.. no one in the RepRap community has the money to defend... now. Makerbot was the biggest player with the most money. Now nothing.
  • by EdZ (755139) on Wednesday June 19, 2013 @06:31PM (#44054955)
    Makerbot have been releasing more and more expensive machines, using more and more custom components (e.g. custom geared steppers) with less ability to repair, and more difficult to customise without replacing large portions of the machine. Stratasys are well known for charging massive amounts for basic feedstock, 'renting' printers (that you still need to buy for full-price), waving their patents on fairly basing things at anyone who wants to compete with them, and basically being massive asses.

    So stay tuned for a new, even more expensive Makerbot, with minimal pretence to being DIY/self assembled (just plug it together!), feedstock purchased directly from them is some odd packing and diameter/cross-section (for superior quality!), etc.
    • by gl4ss (559668)

      the steppers are dog standard. nothing special about them.
      if you took a look you would be amazed how little r&d was necessary for replicator 2. it's basically a simplified version of rep 1. with higher cost. caching! and you still _have to_ tweak it. also rep 2's have a habit of breaking stepper cabling among other problems so you have to do on hands work in it yourself.

      they already started selling machines they pretended were "tuned and tested out of the box" with minimal assembly. they did that back i

    • by rijrunner (263757)

      Makerbot has been moving towards making and selling a consumer appliance.

      The maker movement and DIY is a rather different group. Realistically, Makerbot went as far is it could with the DIY group and was running on name recognition at this point. By my count, there about 130 3D printing companies listed on 3ders.org. Most of them will be gone in a few years. And the list really does not include the major players in the 3D commercial printer market.

      Historically, Makerbot had several things going for it. Bre

  • This kind of acquisitions worry me, it reminds me of Microsoft buying competing companies just to close them. Hope I'm wrong but 3D printing is a really disruptive technology, current industry is worried about disappearing. So they are very interested in turning 3D printing into 3D printing services rather than owning a 3D printer. Anyway I'm backing the next 3D printer in kickstart
    • by Dekker3D (989692)

      Since a lot of people have home 3D printers and there's sites where you can request for something to be printed on one nearby for a certain price, I think any company trying to sell "3D printing services" using FDM machines would have a hard time making much profit.

      • by faustoc4 (2766155)
        That's not what I meant. I think it's possible that they gradually close down makerbot and turn them into a 3D printing service using high end Stratasys printers. And as American you only think about yourself, this technology can have a lot more impact in developing countries but a $2000+ dollars 3D printer is out of the question, owning low cost 3D printing in a developing country is revolutionary and empowering
        • by Dekker3D (989692)

          As a Dutchman (*le hinting cough*), I don't really consider Makerbot to be desktop 3D printing anyway. I'm much more partial to the original RepRap project, housing a great variety of different styles of printer with their own mechanics. I built my own for about 550 euros, perhaps 700 dollars or so. I know one person has managed to build a Reprap for $300, and it should be fairly doable to build them for $400 or similar. With welding tools, bulk deals on the electronics, a supply of broken scanners and prin

        • by dbc (135354)

          Meh... if Makerbot disappeared tomorrow, little would be lost. Makerbot turned to the Dark Side long ago, closed their hardware, and their software fell behind. There are open clones of everything good Makerbot ever did, and a huge number of open competitors. The open 3D printer world is thriving, and is more innovative (and confusing) than at any previous time, and the quality of the output from open hardware and software is better than ever. And better than Makerbot.

          Stratasys has pattents. The only r

  • Fuck Bre Pettis (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward

    I bought a Thing-o-matic at the beginning of Bre's PR blitz a year and a half ago. I was excited about it. Then I needed more stuff from theIr store, and they were out of stock... for months... While Bre was still going on every talk show that would have him.

    I began to think that this whole venture was just about Bre's self-aggrandizement and there was no follow through for the DIY product itself.

    • by Applekid (993327)

      I bought a Thing-o-matic at the beginning of Bre's PR blitz a year and a half ago. I was excited about it. Then I needed more stuff from theIr store, and they were out of stock... for months... While Bre was still going on every talk show that would have him.

      I began to think that this whole venture was just about Bre's self-aggrandizement and there was no follow through for the DIY product itself.

      And that, ladies and gentlemen, is marketing at it's finest. Getting you to part with your money with the glitz and glamour of empty promises.

    • by djh101010 (656795)
      Exactly. Us Cupcake owners financed his team's development of the Thing-O-Matic. We were fine with that, we welcomed it as the next release of an open-source success story. And then Bre abandoned us Cupcake owners, 3 months afther the ToM was live, with a tacit "fuck you, buy the new stuff" message. Out of stock for months is a passive-aggressive approach to abandoning your supporters. Not cool, Bre.
  • by RenderSeven (938535) on Wednesday June 19, 2013 @07:19PM (#44055445)
    For sale: lightly used Replicator 2 with extruder and build plate upgrades, 3 months old. Or trade for any other 3d printer not controlled by thieving money-grubbing parent company..
    • by Dekker3D (989692)

      To be honest, I think Makerbot may already have already acquired a chronic case of "money-grubbing" more than 3 months ago.

      • True dat. It was probably inevitable once they took money from investors. But still, how long until they adopt Stratasys (and Cubify) model of filament cartridges with EEPROMs to make sure they get you coming and going. I have free access to a Stratasys machine and still bought a Replicator because of the obscene maintenance and consumable costs.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      For sale: lightly used Replicator 2 with extruder and build plate upgrades, 3 months old. Or trade for any other 3d printer not controlled by thieving money-grubbing parent company..

      Just use your Replicator 2 to make one yourself!

    • by TheKidWho (705796)

      I'll trade you my Prusa i3 for it!

  • by Dekker3D (989692) on Wednesday June 19, 2013 @07:43PM (#44055643)

    Back in may 2012, more people used RepRap style printers than Makerbot-produced ones (even though Makerbots should, by all means, counts as RepRap-style, but let's not get into that). I'm not sure if the tables would've turned so much in one year. Perhaps they have. And yeah, I'm aware that RepRap might not count as part of the industry due to its DIY nature. But still, the article implies that most desktop 3D printers that people acquire/use are Makerbots and that just irks me.

    I'd appreciate if you people had a gaze at http://surveys.peerproduction.net/2012/05/manufacturing-in-motion/3/ [peerproduction.net], one page in a set of results from a survey back in may 2012. It may provide some useful insights.

    • by gl4ss (559668)

      but makerbots survey done with makerbot buyers says that makerbot is an industry leader in selling makerbots.

  • While the dictionary defintion definitely allows for such use of the word "merge", I tend to think of "merge" as being an activity between entities of fairly similar sizes. I mean, it sounds odd to say that you "merged" with the hotdog you just ate, although technically that would be correct. Another example might be a small web start-up that was acquired by Google or Facebook.
    • by jbeaupre (752124)

      Merge into traffic
      Merge the changes into the code

  • by goodmanj (234846)

    The 3-d printing "revolution" is actually two revolutions. First, putting the ability to make stuff in the hands of ordinary people. Second, putting the ability to make 3-d printers in the hands of ordinary people. The first, the "making revolution", is still a work in progress, as anyone who's actually tried to use 3-d design and print software knows. The second, the "Von Neumann revolution", was never what Makerbot was about.

    So long as StrataSys continues to make a low-cost FDM printer for home use, I

    • by daid303 (843777)

      Reporting from Ultimaker. You know, the real OpenSource 3D printer, that actually DOES do open-source software development.

      Our printer hit the market 2 year ago. It's still top of the line. Sure they are cheaper options, and even a Chinese copy. You know what, they don't get the same quality and speed that we do.
      The Cube is noisy, slow, prints in low res (as it's not allowed to compete with the expensive Dimension 150) getting one of these will more likely disappoint you in the capabilities of 3D printing t

  • Bre is a whore. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by djh101010 (656795) on Wednesday June 19, 2013 @10:09PM (#44056661) Homepage Journal
    Bre has abandoned the people who gave him his start. Sorry, but abandoning the first-gen "Cupcake" bot, 3 MONTHS after the next bot came out, and doing the same to the Thing-O-Matic folks, is a slap in the face to the open-source community who gave him his start. He's nothing other than a money-seeking whore, who betrayed his early supporters for the Almighty Buck. Even today's software updates, which have nothing different from the Whatzitplicator mark 1 and 2 other than a volumetric envelope setting, Makerbot Industries have abandoned the ones who gave them their start and turned into the entity that they pretended to not be part of. I wonder how many months before Bre adds some DRM crap to his supplies so you can only print stuff on Makerbot printers if you buy their own branded, DRM'd, overpriced filaments. And to think that I supported you, Bre. What an idiot I was. You seemed so sincere.
    • by gl4ss (559668)

      he did that with every product he sold. refining and fixing isn't in his vocabulary(that's pretty much his motto, don't fix. there's an old blog post about it by him too).

      only the community has made makerbot products worthwhile by fixing them.

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