MakerBot opened a 170,000-square-foot facility in Industry City last week. “Since MakerBot was founded in 2009, we have been leading the desktop 3D-printing revolution from Brooklyn,” MakerBot CEO Jonathan Jaglom said in a press release. (For more on the former Israeli army lieutenant’s first few months on the job, check out our recent profile of Jaglom by Technical.ly Philly lead reporter Juliana Reyes.)
The global 3D printing market should reach $5.2 billion before the end of this year and could be worth $20.2 billion by 2019, according to a study released by research firm Canalys. MakerBot obviously hopes to benefit from this worldwide growth.
“What they’re going to show us is that there is room for 3D printing in everyday life,” said Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, “even for local consumers.”
But for Adams, the most important audience to reach with 3D-printing technology is young people, who “will grow with it,” use it and “share with their parents” how to make stuff with 3D printers, he said.
Some schools in New York have already increased their students’ exposure to 3D printers.
Daniel Freedman, dean of the School of Science and Engineering at SUNY New Paltz, said his university has about 35 3D printers that students can use. Freedman said that MakerBot was the first company to “come up with the idea that everybody should be able to use” the technology. The company has financed 3D-printing labs at schools, including this one at the University of Maryland.
Some of the courses at the NYU Polytechnic School of Engineering include 3D printing, said Kurt Becker, the school’s vice dean for research and innovation.
Interestingly, the Brooklyn-based university has no formal relationship with MakerBot yet, but Becker said it’s “in discussions with MakerBot” to see how the company can “get involved in some initiatives.” NYU Polytechnic has “between 5 and 8” 3D printers so far, Becker said. He expects that number to grow.
MakerBot’s expansion comes three months after the company laid off about 20 percent of its workforce in April.