“Welcome to Stratasys and welcome to a 3D world, where the only limitation is your own imagination.” Scott Crump, Chairman of the Board of Stratasys, and Bre Pettis, CEO of MakerBot, kicked off the Inside 3D Printing conference in Chicago on Wednesday morning with the story of their past and a promise for the future.
It was the late 1980s when Scott Crump wanted to make a toy frog for his daughter. Scott built the frog, and, to create it, he and his wife also made the first 3D printer: with little more than a glue gun and a toy plotter.
In 1989, the family team patented the first 3D printer to utilise what is now the most commonly known 3D printing process FDM (Fused Deposition Modelling), also now known as FFF (Fused Filament Fabrication) due to trademarking of FDM, and it is commonly utilised in RepRap derivative printers such as MakerBot, Solidoodle, Mendal Prusa and so on.
Today Scott Crump is Chairman of the Board and Chief Innovation Officer of Stratasys, the largest industrial 3D printer corporation in the world. Stratasys has a global presence and annual revenues of over USD$350 million and dominates market share in the commercial sectors.In addition to supplementing, enhancing and displacing manufacturing processes, 3D printing boasts the potential for significant social and individual benefit. “The manufacturing revolution has started and it’s not changing slowly,” says Crump. “Stratasys looks forward to leading the way to a future where we will see millions of 3D printers from home to industrial use.”
Crump then introduced Bre Pettis, the co-founder and CEO of MakerBot, who narrated his 3D printing biopic. He mentioned that he and his co-founders Adam and Zach began playing with the idea of 3D printing in 2007 at the hacker space, NYC Resistor. By January 2009, they founded MakerBot, the RepRap project that, currently, has become as popular, at least in terms of sales, as the whole of the rest of the best of RepRap. MakerBot was acquired by Stratasys recently for some UDS$403 million.
Pettis picked up on the similarities with Scott and Lisa Crump, as MakerBot “started as three guys, a laser cutter and a dream.” Pettis mentioned, “Consumers now live in a world where they don’t have to choose between two products,” they can make one for themselves. He set forth his favourite example of a toy train track that can be made functional through 3D printing.
Scott Crump and Bre Pettis were perhaps seeking to reassure investors and customers alike amidst the frenzy of media attention 3D printing has received of late, emphasizing that 3D printing is here to stay: it is not just a passing fad.
Rachel Park covered the recent acquisition of MakerBot by Stratasys in her experienced, insightful article here.
And in further news around the company leadership, Monday also saw Makerbot announce that it has promoted its Chief Strategy Officer, Jennifer Lawton, to company president. According to Bre, Ms Lawton is his “right hand” and in the months ahead, the plan is for Ms Lawton to manage the integration into Stratasys, a slight conundrum, considering that MakerBot also says that after the acquisition is complete, it will continue to be run as an independent brand of Stratasys, with Bre continuing to head it up as CEO.