Stratasys goes retail. Opens 2nd and 3rd MakerBot stores

  • Article by: Dee DePass , Star Tribune
  • Updated: December 29, 2013 - 2:04 PM

The success of its New York City store has led MakerBot’s new owner to open two more retail shops on the East Coast to showcase the company’s affordable 3-D printer technology.

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viczee26Dec. 29, 13 5:36 PM

Just a comment here. Why do they call it 3-D printing. It looks like they are actually like plastic molded objects...nothing to do with any printing....

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edinawaterDec. 29, 13 6:55 PM

With molding you would inject melted plastic into a mold, cool it down, and pop out the plastic part. It is very fast and efficient, but it has the downside that the molds are expensive, take a long time to make, and the object has to be designed in a manner that allows you to pull the pieces of the mold apart.

3-D printers have nothing to do with molds. They literally print out a layer of plastic (or some other material), adjust their height, print another layer, and so on. They can create objects that cannot be created in a mold. The downside of 3-D printers is that they are slow and the objects they make have a high per-unit cost.

The most common use for 3-D printers is for engineers to create prototypes without first creating an expensive mold. Another common use is for unique items such as a prosthetic where it is cheaper and quicker to print out the object than to create a mold and then make the object.

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swmnguyDec. 29, 13 7:35 PM

Another reason they call it "printing" is that from the computer's point of view, that's what it's doing. The object to be "printed" into existence is defined in a 3-D CAD file of some sort, which is then sent to print as if it were going to be printed in ink on paper. The data is instead sent to the 3D printer, which functions as "Edinawater" describes.

I was very surprised to learn that this technology has been around for a while. Sort of like the fact that the fax machine was invented before the telephone. It took me a while to wrap my mind around it. Now I read there are machines that "print" using molten metal and other materials, too. It's technology with amazing potential for certain purposes.

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VantBHofDec. 30, 1312:28 PM

This will be the next waive of innovation. Absolutely incredible ideas. Manufacturing costs can be reduced and home based manufacturing increased. It will be common in households within 10 years.

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menumbreDec. 30, 13 2:00 PM

I can't wait to build my first fully automatic Browning 30-Cal Machine Gun!

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menumbreDec. 30, 13 2:00 PM

Making me a Real-Doll as soon as the store opens.

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mcpalachDec. 30, 13 3:26 PM

I am wonering why they chose to open their own stores instead of selling them at Best Buy? Most companies are moving away from owning stores.

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