The future of 3D printingCNET's Rafe Needleman interviews the makers of two 3D printer makers and how they are charting the future of manufacturing.
speaker 1: Hey, guys. It's (??) over here at CES in Las Vegas. I'm so excited right now. It is... we're in (??)of CES and I have 2 of my most favorite people here because they run the companies that make the 3D Printers. As you might know, 2 3D printer companies, 3D Systems and MakerBot were finalists in our best of CES award. MakerBot actually won the emerging tech. Congratulations! speaker 2: Thank you very much. Speaker 1: Bre Pettis here. Very funny. Bre Pettis here is the CEO of MakerBot and Thingiverse. Speaker 2: Yup. Speaker 1: Cathy Lewis here is at... 3D Systems and I got them both here and we're gonna talk about these incredible technology which is just so cool. So 1st of all, I want to ask you guys, how did these things work? I mean, both of them were having a print off right now. I don't know what they're making. Actually, I do. You're making... (??) is making cup cake or (??) surprised. Speaker 2: Yes, a red velvet cupcake with icing on it. Speaker 1: I am so hungry. Good. And Cathy here from 3D Systems is making what one of these? speaker 3: Yes. Speaker 1: What are these? speaker 3: Yeah. Speaker 1: How cold this is and you're wearing a... Speaker 3: glove. Speaker 1: Did you make that there? speaker 3: We didn't make it on this machine. We have a full series of units that can produce in the cloud. Anything you want, anytime you want. Speaker 1: Now, what's cool about this is that , this is like mail, chain mail. Speaker 3: Yes, exactly. Speaker 1: This plastic mail. And all these pieces are not connected. I don't know how else you would make this aside from well hammering links together like if you were in Medieval time. Speaker 3: Right. Speaker 1: That's very cool. All right, how did these things work? Where's the magic? speaker 2: Well, the magic... so what we've got here is the machine that can make you almost anything. And it starts with the (??) stock. We've got it back here. You can see it. It's ABS plastic. This is the same thing regulars made out of it. You can (??) see it's (POA?) which is made from corn, which is pretty cool. Then it goes through these tubes to the (??) and it prints it out. It draws the picture in molten plastic and mix up a little bit and draws another pictures. And then layer by layer emerges and bam... we've got something where there was nothing before. Speaker 1: And we made... he brought us in this, by of course, negative (??) anybody who doesn't recognize this right from portal. How long does it take to make something like this? (??). Speaker 2: This is a full day print. This is like a 10 or 11 hour print. Speaker 1: So you can't... it's not like printing out a resume. You got it wrong, you go do it again. Speaker 2: Well, actually that's exactly what it's like. The beauty of having your own 3D printer and if you make it, it will let you know. (??) just print it again and you just there you go. You're all set to go. Speaker 1: And Cathy here from 3D Systems. Your system looks a little sleeker. I see (??) that's got the laser cut balls of frame. These is all plastic. What is this one? How did this work? This one works pretty much the same way any special differences here? speaker 3: Effectively, they all work the same way. 3D printing is about laying down your object. Whatever happens to be layer by layer by layer and what we've done simply is say we want to bring a different kind of experience the consumer market where they don't have to be technical. They don't have to build it. It's all about sort of (??) of itunes and Facebook where you socialize you trade ideas and designs and then you simply download it, print it on your own 3D printer or you ask us to print it for you on the Cloud. And we can print anything you can design, anything that you can imagine. Because we think the consumer experience needs to be coloring books simple. Speaker 1: So what are people going to be printing with these things. I mean, so far I see some pretty unusual products but (??) is pointing to a radio... to a car which is a 4 colors plus has a motor and electronics so. That's not completely printable but talk to me about that car, what's up with that? speaker 2: So this is MakerBot project. What you do is you order this and get the entire switch or rubber, the batteries and (servo?) and the electronics and a motor and everything else you print. So the body, the whole stirring section, the wheels, the tires, even the gears are printing and you put it together and you get a... it comes with one of those remote control, controller and bam... you got a remote controlled car that you made yourself. Speaker 1: Now, why not just go to radioshack and buy one for 25 bucks? speaker 2: 'Cause you can make this by yourself and you can actually customize this. If you don't like the buggy, you can make a (Vita?) Van. If you don't like the (Vita?) van, you can make a Tank., speaker 1: And how do you design these things. I mean , I supposed with that or with any of these things if you wanna do them, you get the plans, the files and how do you modify or create those files yourself? speaker 2: Sp one of the things we're obsessed with, we're an open source machine, you can download all the designs for these, these (??) all that kind of stuff. We share everything and we have a cycle thing(verse?) where we share all the designs for free. And the cool thing about that, this project is you can just download this and it's under an open license, so you can modify it, change it and make it yours. The... and that's just really cool. That means that if you (??) you can change it, add your initials to it. Re upload it and it automatically attributes it to their original user. Speaker 3: And see, one of the things we've done on (??).com is create an environment where it's coloring books simplicity total ease of use, customer, the consumer just goes online if they see something they like, they don't have to particularly put it together. They can simply download the file and start printing or they can upload their (rough end?) character and ask us to print it in full color. We'll print it and send it over to Cloud. So we think the consumer really want something very straightforward and easy to use. They're not gonna actually want to build something or design something all the time. They're gonna want to have access to great content. So our content idea is to invite all the Apps developer to provide applications, to make capturing content very simple and very easy. You can customize and (personalize?) based on the Apps. We have already 6,000 artists that are gonna come online and share their creations and all they got to do is download the creation, make it yours. Speaker 1: So... I have this idea for my plan B is... a piece of hardware, which you're not gonna tell me (??) because it's so stupidly simple that it could be stolen. But I need to prototype it. So... if I prototype on one of these things, then what? Then say, I wanna print 5,000 of them or create 5,000 and then what do I do just take the exact same plans and send it to some factory in China and they make it (out of brass?) or what? speaker 3: You can. It really depends on how many you're gonna run. We have systems that will actually create the mold for you to go into (tool in?). You can actually use one of our services to create up to 5,000. They're sort of a break even when you get into a certain number. You're gonna wanna go into real (tool in?) and do the long runs. But somewhere less than 5,000 or in that vicinity, you can actually (??) 3D print them. Speaker 2: Yeah, I mean our material is this much. . This is a kilogram, 2.2 pounds. This is 50 but this is actually 42 pound, 42 dollars. 2.2 pounds, $42. It's cheap. This is heavy. Like you can make a lot of things with that. And speaker 1: but it's slow.. I mean if I want to make 5,000 widgets and it would take me a while. Speaker 2: With a big platform like this, you might be able to print a ton or 12 (off?) at a time. Speaker 1: Oh, okay. (??) my part. Speaker 2: Yeah. Speaker 1: Okay, let's see. Now, you know, I'm poor enough with design as it is that's why we have artists over at CNET. Speaker 3: Right. Speaker 1: Could I learn how to do my own 3D designs or what program do I need to learn or another opportunity is for better apps. Speaker 3: You know, we believe that the average consumers isn't gonna wanna learn (CAD?) there are a number of affordable (CAD?) packages and we happen to own one of them. But our idea is to give you coloring book simplicity. Make sure that you're able to just go and (match?) up your own design based on what's already there. If you do wanna create, that's another opportunity, you can actually upload your design and merchandise online and we'll help you sell it to others and provide you revenue so you can earn money actually by creating. Speaker 2: So we don't really care about (crayon?) simplicity. We wanna teach you how to... we wanna get you started at the easy level. You can use Google sketch up, which is free and easy to use and then you'll get hooked and the next thing you know you're gonna be building the next bridge or the next solution to global challenge. Speaker 1: I see. I see. Speaker 3: So what you're seeing here is two different approaches. Speaker 1: Yeah, it looks like it. Speaker 3: One for the technocrat, which is a lot of fun. Speaker 2: I disagree with that actually. Speaker 3: Well, okay, the hacker then. Speaker 2: No, I disagree with that too. We made this for everyone. It all comes... all together. You put it. You take it out of the box. You can make awesome things for cheap. Speaker 3: I think this might be a little bit easier. Speaker 2: I disagree. Speaker 3: I want this in my home, (??) that one(??). Speaker 2: (??). Speaker 3: That's what he needs to do. He can help you with that. But I will tell you where we're going with this. It's customization and personalization and self expression if you can help someone unleash their creativity, imagine how many advocates we're gonna find that can create new content and really revolutionize the way we create product in this country, in this world and have fun doing it. There's nothing like it. Speaker 1: Right, realistically though, I mean there are, there's 2 different attitudes going on here which I think is kind of cool. I mean that one... Speaker 3: It's very cool. Speaker 1: It's my grandmother's and the 3D printing that you know for... Speaker 3: ... you're not calling your (??) grandmother. Speaker 1: What's that? My grandmother... that one looks you know obviously a little... it looks a little bit rougher. They do pretty much the same thing. Oh, that one does 2 colors which is cool. How long by the way can you get the 3 colors, in any color? speaker 2: You know it's funny. We got here with 2 colors. Big big upgrade, big challenge. We got to run in 2 colors. 1st thing people ask is this when can I add more colors? speaker 1: That will make you in the right track. Speaker 2: So... one of the cool thing about what we did is we make it modular so if you are a tinker, we made it so that anybody can use it. And so that's really simple. It's really friendly. But if you are a (tinker?), you can just add on another 2 (??) and see if you can make it work. Speaker 1: and then (license?) them back to you. Speaker 2: Yeah, that's exactly right. Speaker 3: That sounds like a good business model. By the way, we have (??) touch that has 3 (??) and has a large build envelope and it's in the market for about 2 years. Speaker 1: How much does it cost? speaker 3: That is about $3900 fully assembled and ready to print out of the box. Speaker 1: Okay, so this product, one of the advantage of this one of course is that it is a few hundred dollars less than that one. Speaker 2: That's true. Speaker 1: But... that one. How much is that? speaker 3: This is gonna (??) reach out for 1299. Speaker 1: Okay, so 1299 for a product that most people don't think they... it's really fun but do you need it. That product that is what this MakerBot is ... Speaker 2: Starts at 1749. Speaker 1: Okay... Speaker 3: (??) that one? speaker 1: The point is when are these products going to be in the... more I'm gonna buy one for my kid for Christmas stage which will be... maybe 300 bucks something like that or less. How long can we get them that level? speaker 3: Well, you know the barrier and I think you would agree with this, it's not the technology price it's how you're gonna use it. It's the content. It's making simple... Speaker 1: It's the technology price because when I looked in a Christmas present... $1200 is outside of my budget. So how long until this is inside the realistic parent budget? Speaker 3: You know, we're going to... we have the ability. There's no technology barrier. Speaker 1: Okay. Speaker 3: But we believe as a company and as someone who's been in the industry for 25 years if you have to match up content creativity, ease of use and then experience that the consumer likes to go with the product that they're gonna use in their home and that by the way provide them with the ability to print without having a printer because remember they're never gonna sell us photographic (??) in our home and then we all went back to Walmart to get our prints done. That's what simplicity is all about. If it's not simple, people won't do it. So provide the service as well. Speaker 1: Okay. Good, (??) speaker 2: With the MakerBot, you can make another 3D printer. Speaker 1: How much of it can you make? speaker 2: You can make all the plastic parts you need some rods, you need some motors, you need some electronics and you're good to go. Speaker 1: Okay. Speaker 2: The (rip rap?) project has been around for a while. We actually started on this project and people use MakerBots all the time to make 3D printers for their friends. Speaker 1: But that's what really... Speaker 2: ... at low cost. Speaker 1: with plastic. Now, (??) things here both of these products are using pretty much the same raw material which is... Speaker 3: That's correct. Speaker 1: Plastic tubing. Can you... are there other materials that you can use? I mean, suppose I wanna make a ring for my wife , I mean can I make something out of brass or something? speaker 2: We... we make things all the time and if I had one here, I'll show you and then we go to a (??) in Manhattan and we give them the plastic object and a few days later they come back and we've got it out of brass or aluminum. Speaker 1: Oh, really. Speaker 2: There's actually really high end 3D printers. Do you make metal printers or do you make (??) another Cloud service? speaker 3: Basically, we have all of the printers and we also print molds so you can get to its finest product it's made out of metal But in terms of metal in the home, that's probably gonna be a couple of additional days. Speaker 1: a what? speaker 3: Additional days. Speaker 1: What else we wanna know about these things? speaker 2: So (??) the coolest thing this year is that there's not just one 3D printer company here... Speaker 3: Absolutely. Speaker2: And you know the thing is this, 3D printing has been around for a long time but it hasn't been successful. We started a couple of years coming to see us with our kids, (now ?) we got a full on, you know, assemble thing you can buy this (??). They got a machine you can just buy (??) and that means that there's... there's... and people are excited. People are swarming around these (??) and it shows that there's something going on here where consumers wanna take control of things they have in their life. And this is really different from a lot of the things here where you know you look at your phone, you look at your tablet. You look at your TV. These things are empowering tools that are gonna change the future. So there's something going on here (??). Speaker 1: Give me your Science fiction vision this year, diamond age vision here so... I'm in the kitchen, one of my knobs breaks. I take a knob from another thing. I drop it in somewhere, scans it, prints me a copy of it. Speaker 2: Yeah. Speaker 1: (??) copies. When... I mean, when, how, how much, you know, speaker 2: So there's people doing that right now. You can use the connect which is... which is... it's a Microsoft product that has been hacked to be a scanner. It's really easy to use. There's some software. We weren't doing this for a while. It's really fun. Take a scanner yourself. MakerBot it. I'm sure you can do that on your, you're doing that as well. Speaker 3: Yeah. Speaker 2: It's... that's really fun. And so we're in this kind of... we're in this time where it's the beginning kind of like when the Apple 2 came out and industry was born. There's people being like, why would I really need a 3D printer? Ask somebody who's got the machine like this if they want... if they're enjoying life and they're gonna (??) like oh, my gosh, it's so cool. Speaker 1: What's the latest thing or the most interesting thing you've seen somebody print out? speaker 2: So most interesting thing I've seen somebody print out is I've got a guy named Miles (Likewood?) who is doing the project shelter which is doing ecology conservation for Hermit Crab's printing out, Hermit Crab Shells. 'Cause Hermit Crab 's have like a housing (??) so (??) you can make shells any other way than with a machine like this. Speaker 1: Why not? Because of the (??) shape. Speaker 2: Yeah, 'cause of the (??) shape. You cannot mold on that. So that's pretty cool. Speaker 1: Okay. Cathy... Speaker 3: What's the most interesting thing... Speaker 1: The most interesting thing aside from the (shoe?) phone here? speaker 3: You know we've been able to print almost anything over the last 25 years. We revolutionize any (??) so comfortable. We've changed the way people straightened their teeth. We've seen implants that changed the way people live so we have an amazing impact on humankind and we think that by enabling the consumer to take advantage of this kind of creative environment this coloring book simplicity. We're gonna find creations in creativity we haven't seen before and it's really all about the 3D experience and while not everyone's ready (??). We think there are a number of people because I think both (??) and I would like to take a day off and relax given how much excitement we've created here at CES. Speaker 1: I definitely want one or both of these in my house. I don't know why but I do. Listen. Cathy (??) from 3D Systems. Thanks for coming in. Speaker 3: Thank you. Speaker 1: (??) of Maker Bot and ... Speaker 2: Pleasure to be here. Speaker 1: Thank you very much for bringing your toys and your toy makers with you. Where are you guys located? For people who are watching us live. Speaker 3: Outside of Charlotte. Speaker 1: No, no, no, I mean here. Speaker 3: Here. Speaker 1: Let's go all the way to Charlotte to see this thing. Speaker 3: No, you don't , (??) 3D at home, booth 13345. Come see us live. Speaker 1: Okay. Speaker 2: And we're just at the middle of top floor south. Speaker 1: Middle top floor south and I don't know where (??) was , Hollywood. Speaker 3: Central Hall . Speaker 1: Central Hall speaker 3: and by the way thank you CES and CNET. We love being the finalist. Speaker 1: Congratulations! Congratulations! speaker 2: Thank you very much. Speaker 1: Thanks everyone. Speaker 3: Thank you so much. Speaker 1: And we're out and see you guys soon.