A Croudsourced 3D Printer In Every School

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If Brooklyn-based 3D printing company, MakerBot gets its way, that is precisely what the company believes needs to happen in order to revitalize American manufacturing.

MakerBot announced a plan to introduce a 3D printer

Today, MakerBot in conjunction with DonorsChoose.org announced a plan to introduce a 3D printer into each United States school through the generosity of you and others. While not wholly unselfish, the plan would make MakerBot a household or schoolhouse name, and the thinking is that United States students need access to something that many believe to be the next thing in manufacturing.

Just look at last week’s episode of Grey’s Anatomy if you can’t see the 3D printer’s usefulness in medicine. Other industries that will benefit from 3D printing include but are not limited to: architecture, engineering, construction, industrial design, automotive, aerospace, military, engineering, civil engineering, dental, biotech (human tissue replacement), fashion, footwear, jewelry, eyewear, education, geographic information systems, and food.

MakerBot is looking to teachers and donors

MakerBot is looking to teachers and donors (personal and corporate) alike to see out this dream. MakerBot has put together something that they are calling the its Academy Bundle. The Academy Bundle will include: a Replicator 2 desktop 3D printer, three spools of filament (in red, white, and blue), and a year of the MakerCare service and protection plan. The cost of each bundle will be $2,350 with teachers required to find $98 to make the printer package a reality.

The $2,252 will be found by donors who can specify where the printer is to go once they have visited the DonorsChoose.org site.

Bre Pettis, MakerBot’s CEO, is himself a former teacher and holds this project close to his heart.

“Having been a former teacher, and being in a position now where I can give back … makes me really emotional,” he said. “This is my favorite announcement ever.”

“We’re putting our hands out to everyone and saying ‘Let’s do this together.’ We can’t do this alone,” Pettis said.

To get the ball rolling, Pettis has personally pledged to put a Replicator 2 in all the public high schools in Brooklyn. Ralph Crump, founder of MakerBot-owner Stratasys, has pledged to match Pettis’s donation.

Pettis said he hopes to see 5,000 schools equipped with MakerBots by the end of the year.

MakerBot is manufacturing education in a box

To make sure teachers have something to do with their new 3D printers, MakerBot has launched a week-long design challenge asking members of the MakerBot Thingiverse community to quickly develop 3D designs that can be used in schools. These 3D designs will be available to teachers as soon as they receive the MakerBot Academy package. The design challenge runs now through Nov. 18.

“MakerBot is manufacturing education in a box,” Pettis said. “You not only get an introduction in the next-generation of manufacturing, but you learn about supply chain, digital design, you learn about the process of having an idea and making it exist in the world.”

For more on MakerBot Academy, check out MakerBot’s website.

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