Bre Pettis, brepettis.com, via Flickr
Photograph courtesy of David Neff www.davepix.com
MakerBot has announced that it is on a mission to put one of its desktop 3D printers in every school in the US.
In a press conference held at the company's now iconic New York store today (November 12th), CEO Bre Pettis announced a unique partnership between MakerBot, DonorsChoose.org, Autodesk and America Makes, stating the initiative is a response to President Barack Obama's pledge to utilise 3D printing to boost manufacturing in the world's largest economy in his State of the Union Address earlier this year.
Back in February, the leader of the free world said: "3D printing has the potential to revolutionise the way we make almost everything. We must ensure that the Next Industrial Revolution in manufacturing will happen in America. We can get that done."
This rousing speech inspired MakerBot and work commenced on a scheme that would educate the next generation of designers, manufacturers and engineers using 3D printers in the classroom.
The ability to make "almost anything"
Deputy Director for Technology and Innovation at the White House office of Science and Technology Policy Tom Kalil stated: "We are thrilled that MakerBot and America Makes are joining a growing coalition of citizens working to give American students the ability to design and make almost anything.
"As the President has said, we all need to think creatively about giving our young people the tools to be ‘the makers of things and not just the consumers of things.’"
Therefore, from today individuals and organisations interested in supporting this cause can visit crowd funding for teachers site DonorsChoose.org and pledge to give a financial contribution to the programme. Teachers then register on DonorsChoose.org for a MakerBot Academy bundle. The company itself is contributing its own resources to launch the scheme along with its key partners.
CEO of MakerBot Bre Pettis has personally pledged to put a MakerBot Replicator 2 Desktop 3D Printer in public high schools in MakerBot's hometown of Brooklyn, New York. In addition, [Scott] Crump, original inventor of FDM 3D printing technology founder of Stratasys, has pledged his support.
Pettis' enthusiasm for the MakerBot education initiative was apparent and he encourages everybody at an individual or corporate level to help move US students to the forefront of technology and global competitiveness.
"To get this done, we are going to have to do it together," he said.
MakerBot Academy bundle
Each MakerBot Academy bundle contains a MakerBot Replicator 2 Desktop 3D Printer, three spools of MakerBot PLA Filament and a full year of the MakerBot MakerCare Service and Protection Plan. MakerBot will also support the teachers with the development of ongoing 3D printing curriculum that teachers can participate in and utilise in the classroom. In addition, MakerBot will leverage Autodesk's software and educator curriculum.
Pettis added: "As a former teacher, I believe strongly in creating a new model for innovation. A MakerBot is a manufacturing education in a box. We need to encourage our teachers and our youth to think differently about manufacturing and innovation. When you have a MakerBot Desktop 3D Printer, you see the world differently. Instead of waiting for someone to create a product for you, you can create your own. It can change the whole paradigm of how our children will see innovation and manufacturing in America."
MakerBot believes that to bring manufacturing back to the world's number one economy, students must be exposed to advanced manufacturing technologies such as additive manufacturing from an early age, assisting them in working with the technologies that will help them to pursue careers in engineering, architecture, product design, manufacturing and art and design. MakerBot sees this as an opportunity to bring 3D printing into our schools and classrooms.
Founding Director of America Makes Ralph Resnick commented: "We need to nurture the minds of America's youth today, in order to create a strong workforce for tomorrow. This is a key tenet of the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute, so when MakerBot approached us with this opportunity, we were eager to show our full support. When America Makes, America Works."
Founder of DonorsChoose.org Charles Best said: "We are so grateful to MakerBot and its partners for undertaking this mission. Thanks to this movement, hundreds of thousands of students will have the opportunity to make and innovate in their own classrooms."
"Collaboration and education"
"Initiatives like the MakerBot Academy are further examples of how New York City’s technology community is leading the way to help young people be better prepared for their future careers," said Rachel Haot, New York City’s Chief Digital Officer. "Collaboration and education are key components to keep our workforce competitive and innovative."
Vice-President of Consumer Products at Autodesk Samir Hanna stated: "Autodesk signed on as a key partner in the MakerBot Academy initiative because helping students unlock their creativity and prepare for future careers is a core part of our mission.
"Bringing together accessible applications like Autodesk TinkerCAD project-based curriculum from our instructables.com community and the MakerBot Replicator 2 Desktop 3D Printer will inspire and engage the next generation of design-minded students."
MakerBot is also launching a MakerBot Thingiverse Math Manipulatives Challenge. Math Manipulatives are one of the most requested items on DonorsChoose.org and are an item that can easily be 3D printed in the classroom. The MakerBot Thingiverse website will hold a week-long design challenge, from November 12th to the 18th, 2013, for its members to quickly develop a variety of different math manipulative 3D designs that can then be available immediately to teachers that receive the MakerBot Academy 3D printing package.