MakerBot CEO Bre Pettis unveiled the “MakerBot Replicator Mini Compact 3D” today, a smaller, cheaper, simpler 3D printer that he believes will finally make all consumers want to start extruding corn-based plastic in their own homes, and printing objects on demand.
Pettis believes that in the future, anyone with a creative bent will want to make custom objects at home, in the same way that printing things on paper in 2D became huge with home consumers in the 1980s and 1990s. “It used to be that you had to be a tycoon with a factory … now you just need an idea and the willingness to fail until it works.”
The announcement came at CES, the giant consumer electronics show in Las Vegas.
The Mini is “a compact 3D printer for everyone, from beginners to professionals. This is our consumer 3D printer, for one-touch 3D printing,” he said.
It is literally one-touch, too: “There is only one button.” You simply load in your 3D design, and hit print.
The Mini comes with a built-in “connected” camera. When the model is done printing, it will send you an alert on your phone and users can share images on their social media accounts. It is app, wireless and cloud-enabled.
Pettis is particularly proud that the machine looks like a consumer gadget and not something sitting in a workshop. “It just looks good,” he told attendees at CES. “The designers had their way, and the design didn’t get messed up in the process.”
The price: $US1,375. Significantly, that’s about the same price as a decent laptop. Previously, MakerBot’s printers had cost more than $US2,000. “There are no excuses. It’s not, ‘Are you going to get a MB 3D printer?’ It’s, ‘Which MakerBot 3D printer are you going to get?'” Pettis said.
It will begin shipping in spring 2014.
MakerBot also unveiled a new line of larger, more powerful 3D printing machines aimed at more serious designers, and a bunch of apps and online support products to go with them. See the full release here.