MakerBot's 3-D Printers Lead the Hardware Revolution Smaller, less expensive 3-D printers are unlocking the ability for more people to be part of the maker movement.
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The maker movement took center stage at this year's South by Southwest Interactive Festival in Austin, Texas. The coveted opening keynote was delivered by Bre Pettis, CEO of 3-D-printer manufacturer MakerBot Industries, who used the occasion to unveil the Digitizer, a desktop device capable of scanning objects up to 8 inches in height using lasers and a webcam, streamlining the printing infrastructure from end to end. "You can fill the world with garden gnomes if you want," Pettis joked.
The onstage debut was an homage to Maker-Bot's origins: In early 2009 Pettis was part of a collective of hackers who wanted to get their hands on a 3-D printer, which at the time were the size of mainframe computers and cost about $100,000. "We couldn't afford one, so we made it," he says. They got a rough prototype working before SXSW that year, so Pettis hopped on a plane, headed to Austin bars and began printing shot glasses with the device. He and his co-founders sold some 20 printers in just a few days.