3D Printers

Expanding its 3D Printing Ecosystem: MakerBot Announces Acquisition of Layer By Layer

One of the loudest proponents of the “3D printing ecosystem”, perhaps second only to Autodesk, is MakerBot. Although, it should be said, there are many others banging the drum, and they are all getting louder. But MakerBot is one of the companies (again, like Autodesk) that is not just talking, they are also doing things to make the ecosystem around 3D printing an easy — and a great — place to be.

layer by layer makerbotThe latest action undertaken by MakerBot is the acquisition of the start-up software company Layer By Layer. The company has joined MakerBot to help create user-friendly platforms that are fully assimilated into the MakerBot 3D Ecosystem and has worked with the Brooklyn-based 3D printed manufacturer previously on developing systems that help make 3D printing technology easier and more accessible through innovations in design combined with computer science. According to MakerBot, the goal of the acquisition of Layer By Layer is to help accelerate MakerBot’s position in the entertainment and 3D printing management spaces, as part of its effort to build a more robust 3D ecosystem.

This includes one of the most recently revealed projects — the ability for MakerBot to implement streaming technology into the MakerBot Digital Store and provide a digital rights management system for 3D printable files. The secure streaming was launched on MakerBot’s Digital Store back in October as a move to induce more licensed content partners to join and provide their intellectual property for 3D printing. This is an increasingly important area for content providers and 3D printer OEMS and there are a number of companies emerging across the 3D printing ecosystem promising to fulfill this remit of “safe licensing” for 3D printables. This is a smart move by MakerBot.

Jenny Lawton, who is still, weirdly, being called “acting CEO of MakerBot” by the firm (are we still in Bre’s contracted notice period?), commented on the acquisition, saying: “We’re excited to announce the acquisition of Layer By Layer and move forward with the projects we have been working on with the Layer By Layer team. We see this as a major step forward in being able to support not only our licensed content partners with a secure digital rights management system, but other content as well. The team has been working on several really interesting projects and we are excited to implement added features and benefits to the MakerBot 3D Ecosystem.”

In terms of further insight in Layer By Layer, the company was founded in 2012 by a smart team that includes Jonathan Schwartz, Max Friefeld, Graham Tremper, Dustin Kane, Becca Schwartz and Oliver Ortlieb. Co-founder Max commented: “Since we started Layer By Layer almost two years ago, it has been our goal to push 3D printing forward by building a complete and seamless user experience ­ from finding something you want to print, to actually printing it. We have always strived to make 3D printing a more accessible technology by reducing the barrier to entry with innovations in design and computer science. So, as you probably can tell, we’re incredibly excited to now be working at MakerBot, where we’ll continue to innovate and explore within 3D printing.”

layer by layer team

Not all of the Layer by Layer team are making the move however. Only Max along with Oliver Ortlieb and Jonathan Schwartz have joined MakerBot full-time and will now work out of the company’s Brooklyn office directly with MakerBot’s Digital Products, Software and Business Development groups. Moving from California to NYC was maybe not for all of them.

The terms of the deal have not been released.