MakerBot, the 3D printing firm, opened its first store in New York City today. The firm first released its initial version of its 3D printing technology in September. The technology uses polylactic acid based filament to print out 3D prototype objects. The opening today featured a newer version of this printer and a photo booth that can be used to create images for prototype printing.
Visitors to the MakerBot Store, located at 298 Mulberry Street in New York City, step inside the MakerBot 3D Photo Booth and for $5, have a 3D scan made of their face. They can then choose to have MakerBot make a bust or specific item for them made by MakerBot (costs vary depending on item), or take the design with them to modify and print on their own. The photo booth represents the first wave in fully automated 3D photography. Retail consumers can also buy a printer of their own for just over $2,000.
Visitors to the store can also try their hand at MakerBot gumball machines which contain small prizes made with the Replicator technology.
So far, the printer is in use in classrooms,businesses and design firms- anywhere 3D printing is required. According to conversations with company spokespeople at the event, one lucky kid has already convinced his parents to purchase the printer. Visitors who work with the software can also go to the Thingverse to see what people have made, robotic kits are also available for purchase.
“This shrinks the product life cycle significantly,” explained MakerBot CEO, Bre Pettis at the event. “You can use the software to input your image and come back with a prototype within days.”
The photo booth is optimized for facial 3D renderings, although Pettis says “there is room for experimentation.”
Image: Products created by the Replicator 3D printer.