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MakerBot's Bre PettisDonald Bell talks to Bre Pettis, CEO and co-founder of Makerbot Industries, about the Replicator 2X 3D printer announced at CES 2013.
-All right. Welcome back here at the CNET Stage, I'm Donald Bell at CES 2013 and I am joined by Bre Pettis here, co-founder and CEO of MakerBot Industries. And yesterday, you guys announced the MakerBot Replicator 2X, am I right? -Tat-tat-tata. -Tat-tat-tata. -Tell me about your new 3D printer. -So we unveiled this one yesterday, so this is our fourth-generation of MakerBot, and to kind of break it down, the MakerBot Replicator 2 is a single-extruder 3D printer optimized to use a material called PLA, which is a renewable bioplastic that's made from corn. Now, yesterday we unveiled the Replicator 2X- -For extreme. -For experimental. -Oh, okay. -Well, I like that, extreme. -Extreme- -Extreme 3D printing. -You get to like drink your Monster Energy Drink. Well, yeah. -From the tops of mountains, jumping out of airplanes, yes. -Maybe next year, that can be done. -But it's kind of like that actually because it uses a-- the Replicator 2X uses a material called ABS, which is a little bit fussier material, and we made-- we optimized the machine so that you can be successful with it. But it's really set up for the dark brown McGyver types like, you know, if you've built a travel machine from scratch, Replicator 2X is for you. -Right, so does the ABS setting go up to 11 somehow for like you can really feel the power? -See, you can-- see, you can print out your own Stonehenge. -All right, now let's back up though. I know that there's still people out there who really haven't gotten their head around 3D printing, the why of it, the who are-- who is using your 3D printers? You've been selling these now for a good 2, 3 years? How long has MakerBot been selling MakerBots? -You know, this is our fourth year. And this is our fourth time in CES. The first year we were here, we were the-- we were like so far back in the corner. -I remember. I actually visited you guys because the MakerBot's here. But you were, yeah, you were in the boonies. -Yeah, it was-- we were in the thick-- yeah, way back there. -All right, since then who's really taken up the MakerBots and kind of been your biggest market? -Well, to kind of-- well first, I should tell people what 3D printing is. -Sure. -Because it's still science fiction for a lot of people, and basically, if you think about 2D printing like you have a virtual document on your computer and you turn it into a physical document. -Sure. -With 3D printing, you have a virtual 3D model, and you turn it into a, you know, physical 3D model. And it builds it up layer by layer and then you take it out and you have your thing, you imagine it. -Your girlfriend is there; you can give her a name. -You know- -Great. -And so what's-- so we've got these 2 new 3D printers that we launched, and then we've also got some other stuff. We've got-- we updated our software, so it's more feature-rich. And then we launched a thing on Thingiverse, which is our place where-- it's our library where people share downloadable digital designs. We launched an API which allows developers to make things. And just for fun, we made an application on that API called the MakerBot Customizer and it lets you go on there and create things. So it makes-- it makes it really simple to make things. So like there's iPhone case and you literally, you choose what kind of iPhone you have and you choose what kind of shapes you wanna have and how much they overlap and how thick things are gonna be. And you can make your custom geometric pattern-- geometric pattern of the iPhone case, looks really cool. I know you can make it. -Right, now show me, let's show some of these off. -Sure. -Show me some of the things that have been made by the MakerBot. -So this is one of my-- I'm a gear head. I, you know, I've had like 30 cars and only two of them are worth more than a thousand dollars. So I've spent a lot of the time under the hood of old cars. And this is a V6 Ford engine block, and Ford sent us the model for this. And this is actually the model for a Ford V6 engine block, so just scaled down. -You've got to print out a few more pieces though to get the whole car eventually. -That's true. We need to-- there's actually-- but it's really cool. You can see where the-- where the oil goes and then there's a separate system for the coolant, and it's all there, so in some ways this is an education on how an engine works, just printing that out. And this is printed actually at medium resolution, which is still really nice. And then this is actually-- we're making this right now, it's just starting. This is a sculpture, a Sappho sculpture, and this is printed at our highest resolution, 100-micron layer height. And-- -Yeah, and you can-- you can definitely tell the difference in the feel of the resolution on this little statuette and the engine block. This has kind of like a satiny finish. -Yes, much smoother, this one you can kind of feel the steps of things, and this is smooth. -And then- -So this is- -you've got your-- you also-- this little statue can live in this house-- -Yes. -with your miniature furniture here. -So this is furniture made by KC Hallgren. KC Hallgren, she's a set designer in New York, and her sets are on Broadway. And in the old days, she used to design sets with like cardboard and X-Acto knives and glue, and, you know, spill blood everywhere in the process, right? Well, now she's got a few MakerBots and when she goes to design a set, she designs them all in her computer and then makes them on her MakerBot, takes them into the director and they talk about stuff. And because of this, she's done this for a lot of shows. She's got all this period furniture for like, you know, she's got Victorian furniture. And I'm not sure, really kind of like classic furniture- -Right. -for different plays. -Just Tupperware bins full of old Victorian miniature furniture. -So now, on top of being a set designer, she's also got a side business where she sells this to dollhouse enthusiasts. So, it's one of the things that when you're a MakerBot operator, you think about, okay, I'm gonna make these things in the world, and if people want them, no problem, I'll just make more. -All right. What-- but mostly, you're-- you're talking about creative professionals, people who are in kind of different crafty professions or hobbies, but there is also that sense that what's exciting about this technology and why is that CES is that it may be this step towards this future of printing out your own gadgets or somehow a cooperative process of, you know, the next iPhone come ou-- comes out and in some parallel universe, it's pseudo opens stores then you can print out the casing for it and then you just buy the chips from Apple or something like that, right? -Yeah. -There's-- there's this idea that maybe 3D printing is going to replace the conventional distribution of gadgets. -So at our core, MakerBot is an innovation company and what's cool is we innovate so that you can innovate. And our core audience is, you know, engineers, industrial designers, architects, and, you know, professionals who use CAD. But then there's this whole other level of people who just wanna live in the future, and so they get-- you know, they may be a teacher or they're a parent and they just get one of these so that they can be ready for what happens next. And those people, they don't necessarily have to design the next Ford engine, they're free to design whatever weird thing they can imagine. And, you know, traditionally, if you were gonna come up with a product, you have to think about, you know, selling it to 10 or 100,000 people, with the MakerBot you just have to make it for yourself. -Right. -So there's all sorts of wonderful things on Thingiverse. Everyday that's-- that are coming out. And it's-- and that we're-- we're at an inflection point. No, it's never been a better time to be a creative, you know, maker in the world. With the MakerBot, you can make stuff just straight out of your head. What used to take a month to send off to a model shop to be made can take you an hour. So that whole process of innovation, you an iterate much faster so you can do a lot more-- you can try things out a lot more before you make your final- -Sure. -final [unk]. -But I mean, it gets to this idea of home production, right, of instead of the-- the printer analogy-- instead of, you know, having to go down and have your, you know, making copies on your old mimeograph machine, you can print out at home now. -Yes. -And in the same way here, you can, instead of having to go and buy an iPhone case, you can print one out at home or print out your own miniature furniture. Is there-- is there-- it says it-- stop it at plastics or is there a way that this technology is eventually going to come down to 3D printing, you know, motherboards for your computer or 3D printing food as our producer was mentioning today, is there-- is there another step to this that gets towards the whole gadget? -What's so great is that we're at the beginning of the next industrial revolution and we put this power in people's hands. And they're gonna do both wonderfully innovative and totally absurd things with it. And in many ways, absurd things are really close to innovative things because when you make something that's just stupid because you can, you learn a little bit of something different about what's possible than if you are really focused on a traditional application. So we're gonna see just a massive blossoming in the coming years as more and more people get these in their hands. And it just becomes normal to innovate. -I'm super excited about it. Bre, thank you so much for joining us today. -Sure. My pleasure to be ***CUT DICTATION***