Let’s be clear – the times when MakerBot decided what the 3D printing market looks like are irrevocably gone. Since the company was taken over by Stratasys in 2013, its importance to the industry has been gradually decreasing and MakerBot became just a shadow of its former power. However this does not mean that the company is going down – Stratasys has a very clear and defined strategy for the development of MakerBot, in which the company fits perfectly in the education sector. The best confirmation of this direction is today’s premiere of the company’s new 3D printer, dedicated to American schools, which is part of a comprehensive learning platform.
MakerBot SKETCH Classroom is a new approach to implement 3D printing technology and combined learning programs in schools. The SKETCH Classroom bundle comes with two MakerBot Sketch 3D printers with enclosed build chambers and touchscreen controls, twelve licenses for MakerBot Certification programs (two for teachers and ten for students), MakerBot Cloud – a connected platform that enables seamless 3D printing file management and CAD design integration, access to Thingiverse Education’s extensive 3D printing lesson plans, support and extra accessories, including an extra 4 build plates, snips and spatula. Every order is also equipped with 6 spools of PLA filament.
The build volume of the new 3D printer is 150 x 150 x 150 mm, the table is heated, and layer resolution is in range of 100-400 microns. The price for two printer setup starts at USD 1799. SKETCH Classroom bundle is expected to begin shipping on February 17 2020 – at the moment only for schools in USA.
SKETCH Classroom solution allows students sending their designs to the MakerBot Cloud, while teachers can manage 3D printing projects and queues. The system is also designed for ease-of-use to allow teachers to focus on using 3D printing as part of the curriculum. In terms of safety, the desktop SKETCH 3D printers have UL certification.
Schools that will take part in the program can get the MakerBot Certification – confirmation certificate that the student will solve the real world problem through design thinking and 3D printing. Taking part in the program will allow the access to a full set of interactive content, projects, quizzes and exams developed by MakerBot Certified Educators. MakerBot emphasizes that it has over 600 Certified Lesson Plans, ready to implement at any school.
This may be a great step forward in MakerBot’s career and reincarnation of a brand distinguished for the 3D printing industry in a new, expanded role. This move shows that MakerBot is much more than just a machine – it may become a significant tool in process of modern education.