Mashable says everyone is a Maker

Writing for Mashable, Lauren Drell says we’re in the midst of a new Industrial Revolution, and it’s all thanks to 3D printing. According to Drell, the Atmel-powered MakerBot is the household name looking to get 3D-printers into the hands of the masses, with 13,000 MakerBot Replicator 2 machines currently in the wild.

“It’s a new way of designing and creating and manufacturing,” MakerBot Founder Bre Pettis, who started his career as a teacher, told the widely read publication. 

Pettis said that since he always emphasized empowering his students through creativity, education and learning are naturally “built into the DNA of MakerBot.”

“I’ve always been a tinkerer. And it’s the holy grail for tinkerers to be able to make something that makes things,” said Pettis.

The Atmel-powered MakerBot Replicator 2 uses additive manufacturing to 3D-print objects, one 100-micron layer at a time. In addition, MakerBot machines are designed to use PLA filament, a plastic-like filament that won’t peel, crack or curl. The filament is available in 23 colors and a number of finishes, including translucent and metallic.

As we’ve previously discussed on Bits & Pieces, IDC analysts recently confirmed that 3D printing is “on the verge” of mainstream adoption as businesses begin to recognize and embrace the product manufacturing benefits of the technology. 

According to Keith Kmetz, IDC VP, Imaging, Printing and Document Solutions, the worldwide 3D printer market will experience tremendous unit and revenue growth from 2012 to 2017, with compound annual growth rates (CAGRs) of 59% and 29%, respectively.

“Print is extending beyond output on media to the creation of an actual object, and that presents incredible opportunity,” said Kmetz. “While traditional print technologies are facing maturity, 3D printers will see worldwide unit shipments grow by 10 times over the forecast period, and worldwide hardware value will more than double in the short term.”

As Kmetz confirms, the fast-paced evolution of 3D printing has moved well beyond early adopters and hobbyists, with the technology now being utilized regularly in business applications where substantial cost and time-to-market benefits are gained. In addition to general manufacturing/R&D applications, 3D printing tech is also finding sweet spots in aerospace, automotive, education, dental, jewelry, medical and recreation vertical industries.

Clearly, the meteoric rise of 3D printing has paved the way for a new generation of Internet entrepreneurs, Makers and do-it-yourself (DIY) manufacturers. So it comes as little surprise that the lucrative 3D printing industry remains on track to be worth a staggering $3 billion by 2016 – and $8.41 billion by 2020.

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