MakerBot, a global leader in desktop 3D printing, aims at helping transform universities and businesses into MakerBot Innovation Centers that empower organizations to innovate faster, collaborate better and be more competitive. The centers are filled with more than 30 MakerBot desktop 3D printers and scanners with the goal of helping train the next generation of engineers, architects, industrial designers and artists, as well as transform businesses into innovation hubs that can facilitate their own rapid prototyping and increase product design cycles while saving time and money.
The centers are designed to be a large-scale 3D printing destination, built in partnership with MakerBot and its knowledgeable engineering, creative and training teams. The centers are intended to increase innovation and collaboration, and work as a catalyst for new ideas and growth. They include a forum to bring departments and individuals together to take education or corporate work to the next level. By using the center’s numerous 3D printers and scanners, it can generate numerous prototypes and models, streamline workflow, and be a center for inspiration. Its aim is to establish a valuable recruiting and fund-raising asset for the university or corporation, as well as being a place to generate revenue and build skills for the future. The centers are to be used by multiple departments in corporations or universities. At the university level, a MakerBot Innovation Center can be open to the student body, and often the community, as a destination to foster innovation and make things. On the business side, the centers can be used as a center for design, product development, rapid prototyping and even small-scale manufacturing.
“Having a MakerBot Innovation Center in a place of business or in a university can change the whole dynamic of the new product iteration and innovation cycle,” said Bre Pettis, CEO of MakerBot. “Class projects can be brought to life through 3D printing and scanning. Product prototypes can be created, refined and finalized at a much faster and affordable pace. Schools can train future innovators and be ahead of the curve when it comes to preparing students for the real world. We believe that having a MakerBot Innovation Center in a university or workplace is an incredible opportunity for those using it to unleash the power of innovation and change the world.”
The first MakerBot Innovation Center in the country is installed at SUNY New Paltz in New York, which will be celebrating a grand opening of the facility on February 11, 2014, with a visit by MakerBot CEO Bre Pettis for a special ribbon cutting ceremony and lecture to students and faculty. The MakerBot Innovation Center at SUNY New Paltz is the first in the nation and the first in the State of New York and will serve to connect the university’s science, math, engineering and fine arts programs. The College already offers a certificate program in digital design and fabrication and plans further curricular offerings.
“Forging this partnership with MakerBot allows SUNY New Paltz to offer its students, faculty and local industry an accessible hub for innovation that will bring these three groups together in a creative environment with the latest in 3D technology,” said Donald P. Christian president of SUNY New Paltz. “We expect this environment to enhance our students’ preparation for high-tech careers that combine creativity and advanced manufacturing expertise, and to seed collaborations among academics, students, and regional industry that will further enhance our mission as the region’s public university and an economic driver in the Hudson Valley.”
The largest MakerBot Innovation Center to date is installed at College of the Ouachitas in Malvern, Arkansas. College of the Ouachitas has 47 MakerBot Replicator 2 Desktop 3D Printers, six MakerBot Replicator 2X Experimental 3D Printers, and six MakerBot Digitizer Desktop 3D Scanners. The main purpose of the MakerBot Innovation Center at College of the Ouachitas is to work with regional business and industry in the plastic engineering sector in support of the college’s existing mechatronics and emerging entrepreneurial programs. The center is an outgrowth of the college’s new Project Lead the Way pre-engineering program, enhancing the college’s strong K12 partnerships. 3D printing will be integrated into the college’s academic curriculum as a natural extension of Project Lead the Way. College of the Ouachitas will also be working in collaboration with MakerBot to offer a desktop 3D printing certificate of training.