MakerBot’s new CEO sat down with Adafruit’s LadyAda (a.k.a. Limor Fried), who asked some pointed questions about the new paths being taken by the 3D printer manufacturer.
MakerBot has been undergoing some turmoil recently, with a corporate takeover, numerous internal management changes, equipment troubles and a split with the open source community.
LadyAda pulled no punches when asking Jaglom questions about these issues, and the answers were, at least to us, quite honest and positive.
Regarding re-joining the open source community: It seems that MakerBot will clarify the items that will be open versus those that will not. To assist in determining this line of division, Jaglom is soon to embark on a whirlwind 22 US state tour to speak with stakeholders of all kinds in an attempt to gain additional feedback on this and other matters.
Regarding use of closed materials: With MakerBot’s most recent equipment, some saw steps toward use of proprietary materials in MakerBot equipment due to the unusual dimensions of the new spool size. However, Jaglom assures LadyAda and us that “he sees no value in DRM’ing filament for MakerBots. It would be expensive, hard to enforce, cause less sales – there’s not a lot of compelling reasons to do that.”
If MakerBot now believes this, then one wonders about the success of other manufacturers that do employ proprietary filament mechanisms? Are they already suffering from the challenges feared by Jaglom?
Regarding the mixed reviews of the Replicator 5th generation equipment, Jaglom indicated they’ve managed to improve reliability significantly recently, with a “40 percent decline in Smart Extruder customer support cases since February 2015”. This is in line with anecdotal evidence we’re heard from several MakerBot users in this time period. They are fixing the problems.
Regarding the change in reseller agreements, which has caused several notable MakerBot resellers to cease sales, Jaglom said he would “address this”.
We think this is an important issue, as selling 3D printers only through major retailers poses a big challenge: since all 3D printers tend to require service and operators require a lot of help, major retailers are perhaps not the right place to sell that type of equipment yet. Instead, we think regional or local resellers with expertise and assistance are a better option for consumers at this time.
Much more at the link below.