MakerBot aims to strike balance between freedom of open source and reliability of MakerBot 3D printing solutions.
Desktop 3D printer manufacturer, MakerBot has announced the launch of MakerBot Labs, a platform for engineers and developers to create, build and collaborate using the company’s 3D printing technology.
Developed off the back of feedback from MakerBot’s advanced users, MakerBot Labs is offering the freedom to experiment with a range of different 3D printing features and materials.
As the platform is launched, MakerBot is rolling out four new products. They include an Experimental Extruder range, Custom Print Modes in MakerBot Print, a MakerBot Labs Community on Thingiverse, and MakerBot Labs API.
The extruder is customisable with a modifiable design and four interchangeable nozzles. Easily swappable, MakerBot says the users will be able to seamlessly switch from reliable production to sandbox experimentation as they desire. The four nozzles include a large diameter draft option which enables draft printing to be done up to 75% faster, and also a harder stainless steel nozzle for printing in abrasive materials.
With the new Custom Print Modes, MakerBot Print can now import and export different custom print setting configurations, especially helpful for users harnessing different materials or with varied objectives. Meanwhile, the MakerBot Labs Community on Thingiverse will give users the opportunity to browse, collaborate, discuss and download. It will act as the single resource hub for user submissions and collaboration. In particular, users of MakerBot Print will be able to test modes available in the Community via Thingiverse, and once they have found the perfect setting for their chosen material or print mode, can save their progress and share it with the community.
Additionally, developers also have access to new software and hardware APIs to interface with and expand the capabilities of MakerBot 3D printers.
Listening to the needs and wants of its customer base, and supplying a platform which encourages experimentation and provides the freedom to do so, represents MakerBot’s latest effort to maintain its position as a leading desktop 3D printing company. It’s taking a step towards open source, identifying what the company sees as the best places to add flexibility without compromising the reliability of the products.
“After setting the industry standards for what makes a quality and reliable 3D printing experience, we’re introducing this new, more open platform as a direct response to our advanced users calling for greater freedom with materials and software,” explains Nadav Goshen, MakerBot CEO. “This comes as an added option to our advanced users who are looking to experiment, but still need the industry’s best reliability out of the box. MakerBot is especially proud to offer the flexibility and experimentation that MakerBot Labs adds to our existing solutions.
“We’re taking a step towards openness by offering an experimental platform that allows developers and engineers to interact with our technology, governed by an open API. It’s definitely in the spirit of what the tech community refers to when they mention ‘open source’ – a collaborative platform that allows the community to improve on a product and its experience.
“The best way to offer the freedom to customise and improve on our solutions is to offer an alternate, parallel experience that the user can enter in and out of according to their needs. That’s MakerBot Labs.”