In a huge departure from their standard approach, MakerBot is now offering a completely assembled Thing-O-Matic 3D printer option! Previously, MakerBot offered only kits and focused heavily on those who enjoy assembling them. But now there's an option for people who feel printer assembly is beyond their abilities or time.
The assembled Thing-O-Matic contains pretty much the same components as the kit version, including the latest upgrades such as the StepStruder, G4 Interface Controller, Heated Build Platform and colored LEDs. There's a choice of a kilo of either ABS or PLA plastic on a spool, too. MakerBot has also wrapped in something entirely new specifically to address the needs of the new "assembled" clients: one hour of interactive voice setup support! That should ensure the new operators are able to get going successfully.
We're really pleased to see this move by MakerBot, since it enables a much wider audience to get into 3D printing. We think it's no accident this move is coincident with Bre's appearance on Colbert this week, since the Colbert audience likely includes many more non-assemblers than those capable of successfully assembling from a kit.
But there's one challenge facing MakerBot on this move: the price of the assembled Thing-O-Matic rises from USD$1295 to USD$2500 (with an added lead time of four weeks for MakerBot elves to build it.) This puts the Thing-O-Matic near the price range of another low-cost assembled 3D printer, the BFB 3000 Plus. How do they compare? We'll do a blow-by-blow comparison of the two very soon.