We recently contacted MakerBot chief Bre Pettis and asked him a few questions for this exclusive interview below. We have suspicions he and his crew at MakerBot are working on something really interesting, but as you'll see he's not telling. But he is excited.
Fabbaloo: MakerBot has been expanding very rapidly over the past year. What's it like to manage an operation in such transition? How do you accommodate all the changes? How are you holding up, personally?
Bre Pettis: It's exciting to grow and we're still hiring. Continued learning is a personal criteria for me to be happy and running a company that's growing is full of adventure, excitement, and the occasional two step forwards and one step back. It's been a wild ride having this also be the first year of my daughter's life. Never a dull moment!
Fabbaloo: One of the challenges in personal 3D printing is simplifying the required workflow. What improvements do you see MakerBot deploying over the next while to make things easier for your customers?
Bre Pettis: I can neither confirm nor deny any product not shipping this week, but I will say that we are hard at work making it easier. I'm also very proud of MakerBot's support team. They are obsessed with helping MakerBot Operators!
Fabbaloo: We've seen a huge number of extrusion-based 3D printers emerge via Kickstarter or similar launch vehicles in recent months. How is MakerBot competing against them? Do you see them as competition?
Bre Pettis: As new competitors emerge, it shows that there is a true market category here. We've got a great product with The MakerBot Replicator, an awesome community growing at Thingiverse.com, and again, a great support team. We've overcome some epic obstacles along the way. One of the great things about the growing playing field is that it means that more people than those at MakerBot are doing the work of educating the public about the joys of making things!
Fabbaloo: Several new open source projects involve resin-based 3D printing, an approach quite different from MakerBot's current technology. Will MakerBot consider producing a resin-based 3D printer?
Bre Pettis: I'm enjoying watching that emerge and I've supported some of those projects. Again, I can neither confirm nor deny any product not shipping this week. :)
Fabbaloo: Are you able to us some hints of what's cooking in the MakerBot labs?
Bre Pettis: We've come a long way to make MakerBotting easier. We're on our 3rd generation MakerBot, our 37th version of the software, and I've seen MakerBot Operators get 50 micron layer heights on a MakerBot Replicator with PLA. That's not enough. We're still obsessively trying to improve things and make them easier and more accessible so that more people can feel the thrill of imagining something and making it on their MakerBot!