In this episode of Founder Stories, host Chris Dixon takes a look at a 3D printer while talking to the maker behind the MakerBot, Bre Pettis.
If printing 3D objects sounds impressive, think about this. Pettis thinks “it’s early days”—drawing comparisons to early PC’s like the Altair.
About the size of a mini-fridge, the Makerbot ships for $1,299 and allows users to create their own objects via CAD software (or users can select from “more than 10,000 things” on Thingiverse says Pettis) and print them out in a matter of minutes. Products range from shower curtain rings and eyeglass rims to mini-buildings and movable plastic hearts. We actually tested the Makerbot in our studio and came away with a rocket (Dixon takes it out at the end of the series).
When Dixon asks Pettis how MakerBot is able to make and sell 3-D printers for under $1,500 when corporate models are priced between $20,000 to $1,000,000, Pettis responds, “We just came at it from a totally different place you know. They are servicing a market of it has to work, it has to be perfect, it has to be 99.9999% accurate and we came at it from like, ok what is the absolute minimum we can do to make it work, and then let’s try that and if it works, ship it.”
Picking up on their conversation below, Pettis discusses his background (former puppeteer), the competition and the future of home based 3D printing. When Dixon asks Pettis what the landscape looks like “in 5 to 10 years” Pettis responds by saying he hopes to “get one in front of every kid, one Makerbot per child.”
Make sure to watch both clips for additional insights, including the new feature Makebot recently rolled out.
Past episodes of Founder Stories with Mike McCue, Dennis Crowley, David Karp and Soraya Darbi are here.